Artist's Statement: Mark Leckey on The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things

Mark Leckey interviewed by Mark Sheerin | 02 May 2013

Artist's Statement: Turner-Prize winning artist Mark Leckey talks about two of the most polarised objects in his curatorial show at Nottingham Contemporary...

Colour photo of an artist in profile before displays in a green exhibition bay
Artist Mark Leckey with an installation view from his show© Mark Sheerin
“So what I’ve got here...I’ve made a green room, and within that green room are two hands one is a bionic hand called the i-Limb™ Ultra and the other is a 13th century reliquary of a hand. The reliquary’s from the V&A and the hand is from the manufacturers; they’re called Touch Bionics.

A reliquary means that it’s a container for relics, for bones of saints, and so if you look closely at the reliquary it’s got rings on its fingers. And the rings are windows that you could look into and see the bones within, although the bones aren’t there any more.

I think there’s quite an obvious relation between them: it’s the past and the present. I mean the i-Limb Ultra is the most sophisticated prosthetic hand that’s available and then the hand reliquary is a fairly ancient artefact.

So the idea of having both in the show and having both together is that, between them, they hold the extent of the show. It’s a question of faith, isn’t it?

For me the reason to put them both together is they’re both enchanted. One believes in a miracle of sainthood and one believes in a miracle of technology. And they both seem to me to be beyond-the-human, I guess. One’s cyborg-beyond and one’s metaphysically-beyond.

I have put them in a greenscreen background because I like the potential for greenscreen, that potentially anything can happen. It can be placed anywhere; it can travel to any dimension, any geographical space, any mindspace. Anything can happen with it, so you can take an object or a person and they can, you know...it’s an imaginary potential space.

So how did I come across these exhibits? Google. It’s a Google show. And I made a Tumblr in order to index them, to have a place to put them. Or on the desktop, it’s a desktop folder.

At some point I’ve searched for everything in the show. I’ve come across it somewhere else, and I’ve gone home and searched, found an image, dropped it in a folder. And then that folder contains subfolders of everything that was nested in other folders. That’s what the show is.

What I’ve wanted is a three dimensional actualisation of that process, which is I think how everyone makes art these days. And everyone makes everything. It’s not just art; it’s how we aggregate stuff.

There’s also that magical thing, which seems impossible, where I get an inkling of something and then I go home and I can do an image search for it. And it’s there 99% of the time. You can find it and I’ve got it in some form.

When I stop and think about it - I don’t even have to stop and think - it’s quite terrifying in its immediacy.”

  • The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things is at Nottingham Contemporary until June 30 2013. Read our Review.

Visit Mark Sheerin's contemporary art blog and follow him on Twitter.
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