Mark Leckey, Made in 'eaven, 2004
Made In ‘eaven (2004) is a 16mm film, depicting Leckey’s own studio. The film begins with a brief establishing shot, a pan of the empty room except for a familiar object on a plinth in the distance. The camera steadies itself on the object and we are taken towards it. It is Jeff Koons’ 1986 sculpture, Rabbit - a shiny, ultra-reflective polished steel version of a balloon animal. The 16mm film footage begins to circle the object, the reflections of the empty room in the perfect surfaces contorting and distorting producing an uncanny sense of presence. We are established in the camera’s POV and look squarely into the reflective surfaces and yet it quickly dawns on us that we never see ourselves or the camera reflected back. We move around the exhibited object as ghosts, rendering us perhaps, as the ones made in heaven as the title suggests. We are simultaneously not here and yet very much in the presence of this highly commoditized, culturally significant object. Zooming in and out of the surface, the object is scrutinized and yet we are simultaneously called to scrutinize the manner in which this work was made. How are we not present in this analogue technology of documentation? The visual techniques and uncanny quality lend a suspenseful feeling akin to a horror film but also call into question the nature of film itself. This is now clearly a digital image, at the time of its making, using the newest technology to render this realist depiction. The transferal of the file onto analogue 16mm film stock highlights the interplay of reality and illusion, of materiality and ghostliness. It points toward a decision to consider different technologies not for their adequacy for the job but as an indexical register of feeling that serves the artwork in a more affective way. Site and situation are blurred, and the possibility of a Koons sculpture is expanded in a way the real object could never achieve; the ghostly agency of the viewer lends a different read of the work. Here, environment and object are collapsed, and material distinctions between analogue and digital are, too. And with that, the viewer’s privileged position as voyeur is unsettled. Rather than the critiques of emptiness or the inhuman qualities of sculpture that are sometimes levelled at art of this time and of Koons’ work generally, the critical gaze is removed here, and a paradigmatic shift in perspectives is given to the encounter with art.
|Duration||20 minutes, looped|