© Mark Leckey, photo from the exhibition at SMK: He Thrusts his Fists against the Posts but Still Insists he Sees the Ghosts, 2017. Foto: Jan Søndergaard 

Exhibition | News about the art | 27.apr.2017

Mark Leckey creates new sound work and a giant motorway bridge for SMK

Inspired by recollections of a motorway bridge from his own childhood, internationally acclaimed artist Mark Leckey takes over the x-room venue with a total installation produced especially for the National Gallery of Denmark (SMK).

British artist Mark Leckey (b. 1964) grew up outside Liverpool in England. With the exhibition He Thrusts his Fists against the Posts but Still Insists he Sees the Ghosts he invites audiences to join him in returning to a very distinctive place from his own childhood: the ramps underneath the M53 motorway bridge in Ellesmere Port.

For the x-room venue at the National Gallery of Denmark (SMK), he has recreated from memory the bridge and ramps where he and his friends hung out in the early 1970s.

An exorcism in the x-room
“Many of my works have their wellspring in things and experiences from my childhood and youth that still haunt me. The motorway bridge is one of those things that have settled in my memory. That is why I have recreated it. It is as if memories of this kind take on too much importance, too much room. They become too overwhelming”, says Mark Leckey. According to Leckey, all his works are a kind of exorcism – the urge to create a work arises when something becomes too toxic and must be expelled and eradicated.

One of the distinctive traits of Mark Leckey’s artistic practice concerns his use of found objects and found footage, i.e. existing objects, images, sound and video footage. Speaking about the M53 Bridge, Leckey says:

“I’d like museumgoers to have a psychedelic experience when they step into the room. I’d like the light, the scale of the bridge and the music to transport them to a different state of mind,” he explains, speaking about a major transformation of the x-room that involves not only a giant phantom bridge awash with sodium lights, but also peeling posters and a new audio piece embedding the entire installation in an immersive soundscape.

The sound piece is reminiscent of a cross between a lecture, a radio broadcast, an autobiographical narrative and a DJ set. It is made out of audio samples that span four decades, live recordings, historical facts and Leckey’s own reflections and thoughts. Created especially for the exhibition at SMK, the new audio work represents a continuation of a performance that Leckey staged in connection with his most recent exhibition, Mark Leckey: Containers and Their Drivers, at MoMA PS1 in New York.


When the museum hosts its SMK Fridays event on 5 May, the evening will also focus on Mark Leckey and his exhibition in the x-room. For example, SMK Fridays visitors will be able to hear exhibition curator Marianne Torp speak about Leckey’s artistic practice and the ideas behind He Thrusts his Fists against the Posts but Still Insists he Sees the Ghosts.

From 20.30 onwards the Stage will screen his video work Dream English Kid 1964-1999 AD, where the vast motorway bridge makes its first appearance in Leckey’s work.

About Mark Leckey
Ever since the late 1990s Mark Leckey has been a prominent figure on the international contemporary art scene. He first shot to fame with his 1999 video work Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore, a celebration of British dance culture, and in recent years Leckey has reaffirmed his position with an exhibition cycle at the prominent venues of WEILS in Brussels, Haus Der Kunst in Munich, Madre in Naples and Kunsthalle Basel in 2014-15.

His works and performances have also been exhibited at e.g. the Serpentine Gallery in London and most recently at MoMA PS1 in New York. In 2008 Leckey was awarded the prestigious Turner Prize for his work Industrial Light and Magic. Leckey’s artistic practice spans a wide range of media, from installations, prints and sculptures to video, performance and sound works.

Mark Leckey: He Thrusts his Fists against the Posts but Still Insists he Sees the Ghosts
4 May – 3 September 2017

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>> About the x-room

Official opening: Wednesday 3 May from 5 pm.
Free admission to the exhibition

For media access to the exhibition prior to the official opening, please contact Karen Ormstrup Søndergaard,, to arrange a visit.

For more information, please contact:

Marianne Torp
Chief curator, senior researcher
T: +45 2552 7224

Ayoe Torbensdottir
Communication assistant

Thank you for support to the x-room

Updated: 19.apr.2018
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