Mark Leckey and Martin McGeown’s The Life and Times of Milton Keynes Gallery

Mark Leckey and Martin McGeown’s The Life and Times of Milton Keynes Gallery

MK Gallery

May 19, 2010

Mark Leckey and Martin McGeown: The Life and Times of Milton Keynes Gallery
16 April – 27 June 2010

Admission free

900 Midsummer Boulevard,
Central Milton Keynes, MK9 3QA
United Kingdom

Mark Leckey, winner of the 2008 Turner Prize, and Martin McGeown, Director of Cabinet Gallery, London, have collaborated to make an exhibition using material from Milton Keynes Gallery’s archive.

Drawing from the Gallery’s ten year history and from the very architecture and fabric of the building, Leckey and McGeown have used video footage, installation photography, press material and architectural plans to envisage the Gallery as an incubator of its own history – a reflexive, sentient, exhibition-making machine that revisits its past and dreaming about its future.

One installation uses live green screen technology to project a pink model of the gallery onto an assortment of background images. These include visionary architectural designs by artists such as Hermann Finsterlin, Michael Asher, A.R. Penck, Donald Judd, J. D. Williams and from urbanist and cultural theorist Paul Virilio’s book ‘Bunker Archaeology’ (1975), a roster of images which come to represent the building’s fantasies.

A CGI rendering of the empty Gallery as perceived from a mechanical, disembodied perspective is presented alongside imaginary drawings by Viz cartoonist Lee Healey made from descriptions of the gallery and its past and a wall with hundreds of thumbnail images of previous exhibitions. A new film, “Vache Concrete” or Ten Years within a Contemporary British Art Gallery as Scripted by Itself, splices together footage and texts from past exhibitions and publications to create an evocative stream of consciousness narrated by an authoritative computer generated voice:

So this is an attempt to capture the atmosphere of a classic British institution with rudimentary pictures. Its formal qualities coincidentally referencing the gridded master plan of the host city, Milton Keynes. Not simply documents of places, they explore the poetic and continuing possibility of private reflection. Images that represent the chaotic forces of sex and money. The resulting work embodies a distinctive playfulness and inquisitive curiosity into the dynamics – architectural, spatial and aural – of the gallery, town hall, factory, and bank. [Excerpt from Mark Leckey and Martin McGeown’s ‘Vache Concrete’ transcript]

Milton Keynes Gallery opened in October 1999 as the city’s purpose-built venue for exhibitions of international contemporary art, since when it has organised over eighty exhibitions, including Gilbert & George (1999), Andy Warhol (2001), Archigram (2003), Phil Collins (2005), Shirana Shahbazi (2006), Pascale Marthine Tayou (2007), Cathy Wilkes (2008) and Nasreen Mohamedi (2009).

British artist Mark Leckey rose to prominence in 1999 with ‘Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore’, a survey of Britain’s underground club culture from the 1970s to the early 1990s, and has since exhibited widely in the UK and internationally. He lives and works in London and is currently a Film Studies Professor at the Städelschule, Frankfurt-am-Maine, Germany.

Martin McGeown founded Cabinet Gallery with Andrew Wheatley in 1992 and has curated numerous shows, most recently an ongoing project entitled ’120 Day Volume’, A Pallazo Gallery, Brescia, 2009-2010.


Mark Leckey Film Screenings Thursday 3 June, 6-8pm: An evening of screenings introduced by the artist including: Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore,1999, Drunken Bakers, 2006, a video made from Viz Magazine’s comic strip and The Long Tail, 2009, a lecture/ performance about the internet’s effect on consumer trends, featuring Felix the Cat.

Mark Leckey and Martin McGeown Performance Thursday 10 June, 6-8pm: An ‘enhanced’ talk/performance, designed to activate The Life and Times of Milton Keynes Gallery, using green screen technology to liberate the fantasies of inanimate objects.

Both events are free but pre-booking required. Full details at

Mark Leckey Texts
Mark Leckey’s interview with Milton Keynes Gallery’s Director, Anthony Spira, can be downloaded at: together with the transcript of the film ‘Vache Concrete’ and an audio press release.

For further information or images, please contact press [​at​] or call +44 (0)1908 558 318.

Gallery Opening Hours:
Tuesday – Friday 12 noon – 8pm, Saturday 11am – 8pm, Sunday 11am – 5pm.

Image above:
Mark Leckey
Building Dreams
Courtesy the artist

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May 19, 2010

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