A new exhibition of work by the Turner Prize winning artist Mark Leckey, ‘Lending Enchantment to Vulgar Materials’ has opened at the WIELS, Contemporary Art Centre in Brussels. This is the largest exhibition to date mounted by the artist. Taking his title from a letter by Guillaume Apollinaire, where he claims that he and the filmmaker Georges Méliès ‘lend enchantment to vulgar materials’, Leckey identifies a similar impulse at the heart of his own practice. That is precisely what the exhibition highlights by bringing together new and older pieces in each of the media in which the artist has worked. Spread across two floors of WIELS as well as the auditorium, the exhibition features nearly all of the artist’s videos, including his 1999 video of dance hall youth culture, Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore, and others that have been rarely shown, alongside key sculptural works from the last decade, providing a long overdue survey of Leckey’s remarkable oeuvre.
It also features a major new installation, entitled UniAddDumThs, which acts as an ersatz exhibition within the exhibition. Together these works reveal the artist’s enduring fascination with things, both material and immaterial, precious and ‘vulgar’, and his exploration of how they relate to and even construct desire, fantasy, identity and memory.
Mark Leckey was born in 1964 in Birkenhead, England, and currently lives and works in London. The 2008 Turner Prize winning artist 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. He works in sculpture, sound, performance and video. His influential body of work, from his earliest videos made in the late 1990s to his most recent performances and installations, combs the iconography of popular culture, its brands and its products, as