Mark Leckey, GreenScreenRefrigeratorAction (2010)

Mark Leckey, Installation view, Serpentine Gallery, London (19 May – 26 June 2011) © 2011 Mark Blower

The fridge looks nothing like my fridge. In truth it is more like a “dark mirror”, a “walled garden” or a “monstrous insect”, all comparisons made by an anguished, robotic first person voiceover.

Manufacturers Samsung surely realise they are in the business of fabricating metaphors. How else could they justify a $1,799 price tag for a basic function which could cost you less than 100 notes.

To make their point, they’ve painted it black. The 30 cubic foot machine comes in the same colour as a limo. Its resemblance to the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey goes without saying.

Flanking Plasma screens build on this cosmic potential by juxtaposing the fridge with, at one point, a soup of fossilised sludge and, at another, the Northern Lights.

Animated coolant passes through the condenser, narrated with reference to the moon and the sun. Like a cruel god, the machine is said to “torment” and “humiliate” the liquid.

Our own hunger for the hi-tech is suggested by a cropped shot of the artist’s knees, rubbed in anticipation as lavish food shots fill the background behind the immobile, yet sentient unit.

The fridge onscreen soon attains more presence than the fridge in the room. After 20 minutes, the real thing starts looking very finite against the gallery’s green screen infinity cove.

Less affluent folk would normally come across this appliance on an advert or as a piece of aspirational product placement in a movie. Our present view from behind the camera punctures that.

In fact the more reverence which smooth marketeers and satisfied customers give to their smart goods, the funnier this piece becomes. Because green screen action cuts both ways.

Mark Leckey: SEE, WE ASSEMBLE is at Serpentine Gallery until 26 June 2011. See gallery website for more details. If you’re thinking of buying the fridge, it’s a Samsung RFG293HABP.

4 thoughts on “Mark Leckey, GreenScreenRefrigeratorAction (2010)

  1. This is hilarious but sad. Our Samsung refrigerator threw a fit, went into demo mode, and defrosted everything. Only after we bought a new GE refrigerator did we realize you only needed to hold down 2 buttons for 10 seconds to put it back in business. But now we will never trust it.

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