Page last updated at 17:10 GMT, Thursday, 28 January 2010

Michael Landy: Perfecting the art of destruction


Famous Art works thrown away

Artist Michael Landy, who once destroyed his possessions in the name of art, has turned a gallery into a giant bin for the disposal of artworks.

Over the next six weeks, hundreds of works by artists both famous and unknown will be dumped in the "Art Bin" at the South London Gallery.

So far, pieces by Tracy Emin and Damien Hirst, have been thrown away.

Landy said he hoped the bin would gradually fill up to create "a monument to creative failure".


Members of the public have been invited to submit their own work for consideration, and they could end up in the giant container next to work by better-known artists.

"Some of this stuff is worth a lot in the outside world, but in the bin then it has no value, it has no worth," Landy told the BBC.

"In the outside world there is a certain hierarchy. In the bin there is no hierarchy, so everything is treated the same."

Art Bin
The giant bin fills the South London Gallery

Landy made the headlines in 2001 when he destroyed everything he owned as part of an exhibition called Break Down.

All of his 7,006 possessions - from odd socks to David Bowie singles and his Saab 900 car - were labelled and placed on a conveyer belt at the old C&A flagship store on Oxford Street, London, where they were then destroyed.

In 1997, his design for Tate Britain's annual Christmas tree featured a large bin filled with empty bottles, used wrapping paper, broken decorations and dead Christmas trees.

Turner prize-winner Hirst has contributed two of his iconic skull paintings to Landy's latest destructive exhibition.

"Damien really loved the idea... and they are good paintings," said Landy.

"There will be good artworks going into the bin, but it is up to the artist to decide what failure is."

"I do find myself thinking 'oh that one looks good' but then I have to remember what I'm doing this for."

At the end of the exhibition the bin will be emptied into a landfill site.

The exhibition will run at the South London Gallery from 29 January until 14 March.

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