The Turner prizewinning artist Mark Leckey reveals his thoughts on life, the universe, the internet and everything in an interview published this month in The Happy Reader, a London-based biannual bookish magazine. Leckey is always a good read, and does not disappoint this time round with his take on horror books, art students today and the state of the art world in a lively chat with the novelist Hari Kunzru. The pair discuss the working-class intellectual culture that came out of British art schools which seems to have been “smashed up” over the years. “Completely. I teach at art schools and it’s very apparent. You don’t get many of me at art school now,” Leckey stresses. The biggest bombshell is that he wants out of the art world. “The trouble is, if you’re loved in the art world, that love basically carries you to a super-yacht moored off Venice, do you know what I mean? And I don’t want that. I don’t want to go there,” he adds.
The conversation turns to poetry with Leckey pondering on a key literary reference point in his life. “The gallery I’m with, Cabinet—Martin McGowan, who runs it, began as a poet. He is continually introducing me to poetry. He’ll send me paragraphs that he knows will have some effect on me. So that’s really useful. Pierre Guyotat was the last one he was trying to get me into,” the artist says.
Leisure time at least sounds fun in the artist’s household. “As soon as the kids go out, that’s what I want to do,” Leckey says. “I’ll watch a zombie film tonight, just to... I don’t know. I just find it very comforting. I guess it’s to do with getting a VCR when I was about 15, 16, and getting those early horror films, those video nasties. There’s this sort of illicit thrill.” Leckey’s exhibition opens at Cabinet, London, later this year; to subscribe to The Happy Reader, click here.