Michael Glover: Brainy stuff – but can't we have some beauty?

Tuesday 02 December 2008 01:00 GMT

It has been a dismal year for the Turner Prize – and all that can be said for Mark Leckey's piece is that it is the least uninteresting of the lot. In part, this is because it has a kind of bizarre energy.

But like all the other shortlisted artists this year, Leckey can't just make the work and wonder about its significance later. The puzzling over what it might be good for, and what it might mean, and what we might take it for, is all mixed up with the making. The whole thing is about process, not product.

So Leckey is puzzling over the relationship between object-making and image-making and how different kinds of images lead you to different kinds of realities. Art-making is such a hyper-ventilating intellectual pursuit these days – all about about wearing your theory-stuffed brain on your sleeve. How one yearns for a bit of simple and instant visual allurement, just a touch of the slow morphine drip of the beautiful to help us forget how hard it is for artists, in these intellectualising days.

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