If you want to have an adventure, try and find your way around Tate Britain at the moment, while the full expanse of the Duveen Galleries at the centre of the building is closed for the installation of the next exhibition, the lift that connects the lower floor to the ground floor and the Members’ Room is out of operation and the adjacent staircase, for no good reason, is closed. There seems to be a thing about lifts in art galleries at the moment – one of the new ones installed in the recent Royal Academy project is also out of use. What hope is there for a post-Brexit future if we can’t even have lifts that work?
When eventually you do find the entrance of Mark Leckey’s installation ‘O’ – Magic Power – Of Bleakness’, you enter into darkness, so it feels like day has become night, underneath a huge concrete motorway bridge which soars overhead: this is the M53 flyover from Eastham Rake, Wirral, transplanted to the Tate Modern in Pimlico.
In the tradition of urban life in previous generations, Mark Leckey (born 1964) used to play under this bridge, with the traffic racing overhead, when he was a boy – far more exciting than a boring local authority playground. Today, instead of the flashing headlights of cars and lorries passing overhead, there are videos in a form of ‘son et lumiere’ exploring the link between youth, class, memory and nostalgia, linked to the modern world of technology, with one of them mysteriously linked to fairies underneath the bridge, mystical transportation and substitution – an interesting counterpoint to the exhibition on the floor below of the drawings, writings and paintings of William Blake.