With Mark Leckey‘s work at the Serpentine Gallery it seems unclear whether the work or the sponsorship came first. By addressing commercial branding and marketing Leckey is actively promoting Samsung and also Fiorucci in a far more direct and blatant manner than I have ever seen an artist do before.
Whilst Andy Warhol adopted the graphic design of popular commercial products including Brillo pads and Campbell’s soup, he did not turn his work into a powerful encapsulating installation. Self complementary announcements are repeated in a direct manner, asserting the value of the brand name, rather than an actual product, badged onto fairly high-end electrical products including televisions, Blu-ray players, microwaves, cameras and mobile phones which are shown in a slideshow in the background of the film shot in a green screen room created in the gallery. The focal point of this work, GreenScreenRefrigeratorAction (2010), is the ‘Smart’ black fridge freezer that stands in the installation like a monolithic sculpture such as the Easter Island heads. Leckey takes on the imagined persona of the fridge, seemingly only educated by the company’s promotional material. In this slick, ultra minimal work, and the trailer at the exhibition entrance, Leckey has assembled a series of hypnotically flashing messages on screen between the Samsung and Fiorucci logos and famous or celebrated artworks and artists, relating the brands to art in the way advertisers aim to emotionally elevate the quality and significance of their product. In particular Henry Moore’s signature and name are used in the trailer as a Moore sculpture is included in the exhibition installation as another monolith to compare the fridge with, and the use of the signature makes passing reference to Citroen’s Picasso branding.