Last Thursday I went to a Mark Leckey live performance for See, We Assemble at the Serpentine Gallery. Leckey’s recent work seeks to animate spaces, objects and ideas. BigBoxStatueAction, a sound sculpture cum performance involved a “conversation” between a tower of speakers and a Henri Moore sculpture set in one of the beautiful bright double height gallery rooms.
The cacophony of sound, loud enough to warrant earplugs, resonated through the space and the rib cages of all the spectators – one women fainted in front of me, crumpling to the floor. It was a veritable aural assault on the senses. The experience sat somewhere between being blasted by bass at a rave, and being enveloped in the echoey environment of a cathedral.
Leckey flitted between making discordant sounds in the mic (that got layered over music samples and pre-recorded audio) and standing, arms crossed looking expectantly at the Moore. Despite the seeming randomness you could detect a narrative and follow the rhythm of the “dialogue”. It could have at times felt a little self-conscious with the artist taking centre stage but somehow the overall experience in the space was quite intense and powerful, blurring the boundary between art, performance, sculpture and sound.