Ange Leccia

Galerie Anselm Dreher

The French object artist Ange Leccia was responsible for some excitement at last year’s Documenta in Kassel. In the Orangerie he showed a brand new Mercedes on a revolving pedestal. The deep blue color of the car was identical with that of the pedestal, which functioned as a kind of barrier to the object itself. The object of seduction—also the title of the work—could not be touched. Leccia calls his works “arrangements.” He avoids the use of the term “installation” because it seems to him to be too physical. Behind this concept of arrangement, there is a respect for the object itself. These objects imply the experience of Duchamp’s ready-mades, the Surrealists’ objets trouvés, and the work of Andy Warhol. But Leccia transforms his influences into the current commodity esthetic. The historic positions of artists to objects came from the latter’s relationship to reality, but Leccia’s works draw their power from the consumer world. They alert the viewer that these consumer objects possess esthetic dimensions that previously could only be experienced in art.

In this show Leccia presented an arrangement that consisted of four new BMW motorcycles. Three motorcycles stood close together opposite a fourth from which one could hear the very soft tones of the music from Stanley Kubrick’s 1962 film Lolita, also the title of this piece. The artist is once again concerned with seduction, but in this work not only a seduction through the beauty of technology, but also an erotic seduction projected onto the objects through the music. This music, which introduces the character of Lolita to the piece, is not a coincidental choice, for a motorcycle is often considered a rider’s “bride.” And from this topos there enters a moment of youthful innocence that is in direct opposition to the rituals of masculinity, which for motorcycle riders culminates in the mounting of their machines. Leccia’s arrangement is not strictly concerned with the superficial esthetic beauty of consumer objects. Conflating art and civilization, Leccia’s arrangements bring the viewer closer to the archetypal world of desire, which itself directs—consciously and unconsciously—the designer’s work. Objects are materializations of elementary desires, a fact that could be observed at the opening when viewers unconsciously discovered themselves fondling the motorcycles.

Wolfgang Max Faust

Translated from the German by Charles V. Miller.