Marck Leckey at Sant’Andrea De Scaphis

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Artist: Marck Leckey

Exhibition title: UNIADDDUMTHS

Venue: Sant’Andrea De Scaphis, Rome, Italy

Date: May 25 – July 16, 2016

Photography: Roberto Apa, images copyright and courtesy of the artist, Sant’Andrea De Scaphis and Gavin Brown’s enterprise

Mark Leckey’s UniAddDumThs is an evolving installation of knock-offs. It is an assembly of reproductions, a growing, pulsating display of simulacra rendered as 3D objects, 2D prints and videos.

This project stems from an exhibition Leckey curated in 2013 at the Southbank Centre, for which he spent 3 years gathering images of stuff — archaeological artifacts, artworks new and old, historical oddities — ultimately assigning the museum with the task of locating the objects reproduced in these images. The exhibition, entitled The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things, became a literal, physical manifestation of Leckey’s virtual archive of visual information.

UniAddDumThs is Leckey’s attempt to hold onto the tangible objects he had fetishized both on his computer and in the 2013 show. Rather than simply returning these things to their respective owners, Leckey has instead created an ersatz stand-in for his collection of aesthetic footnotes, replicating as many items from The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things as possible. UniAddDumThs is a project fueled by an obsessive desire to possess the inaccessible, to be able to physically manipulate things that, without the technology of 2 and 3D reproduction, were previously beyond reach.

Weaving between the digital realm and the physical world, Leckey creates a warped and unhinged narrative of an object’s genesis. The intricate oscillation from image to thing obscures the hierarchical distinction between the original archetype and the replica. This notion is ultimately a result of the internet’s democratization of ideas. Consumers previously dependent on the pre-selected output of mass media production, can today curate their distinct virtual and intellectual experiences. The prioritization of information is thus wholly at the whim of the consumer, who in turn becomes both audience and author.

As Leckey explains in his lecture In the Long Tail, the feedback loop inherent in his use of the internet “has assembled a profile of my needs and desires, an accumulation of all my deepest wishes, that is creating content conjured up from my subconsciousness, like it’s scraping the vaguest memories and half-forgotten images from my mind.”

With UniAddDumThs, Leckey at once assumes the roles of curator and creator, the current installation a convergence of his personal processes of categorization. Hierarchies are further punctuated amongst the replicated objects themselves, their arrangement on tiered step-displays hinting at a caste system of visual cues. At Sant’Andrea de Scaphis – while an 8th century parish church altar hovers over the room, referencing perhaps the ultimate object of worship – we each experience our own path to devotion, assuming our singular relationship to Leckey’s mystical amalgamation of things.

The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things was first shown at the Southbank Center in London and traveled to Bluecoat, Liverpool, Nottingham Contemporary, and the De La Warr Pavillion Bexhill on Sea (2013). UniAddDumThs premiered at WIELS, Brussels (2014) and traveled to Kunsthalle Basel (2015).

Mark Leckey was born 1964 in Birkenhead, UK; he lives and works in London. Leckey won the 2008 Turner Prize, studied at Newcastle Polytechnic, is a reader in fine art at Goldsmiths, London, and served as professor of film studies at the Städelschule Frankfurt am Main from 2005 to 2009.

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Marck Leckey, UNIADDDUMTHS, installation view, 2016

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Marck Leckey, UNIADDDUMTHS, installation view, 2016

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Marck Leckey, UNIADDDUMTHS, installation view, 2016

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Marck Leckey, UNIADDDUMTHS, installation view, 2016

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Marck Leckey, UNIADDDUMTHS, installation view, 2016

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Marck Leckey, UNIADDDUMTHS, installation view, 2016

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Marck Leckey, UNIADDDUMTHS, installation view, 2016