BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  Entertainment
Front Page 
UK Politics 
TV and Radio 
New Media 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Friday, 9 February, 2001, 13:49 GMT
Man 'destroys' life for art
Michael Landy
Michael Landy examining his 'Christmas' installation
A London installation artist is reducing every possession he has to dust on as part of an exhbition called Break Down.

Michael Landy, 37, will shred or granulate everything from socks to family photographs over the next two weeks at the site of the old C&A flagship store on Oxford Street, central London.

Once Break Down has finished, a more personal break down, will commence - life without my self-defining belongings

Michael Landy, artist

By the time the installation is complete he will have nothing but a cat called Rats and his girlfriend, Turner Prize winning video artist Gillian Wearing.

Mr Landy said the exhibition was an examination of society's romance with consumerism.


"It's about the amount of raw material that goes into making objects and about the lifespan of things.

"But the title also reflects an emotional break down," he said.

Refuse has been a key part of the artist's work.

In 1994, his still life composition of a bin full of rubbish at the Karsten Chubert Gallery in London was accidentally thrown away by a cleaner.

Landy also hit the headlines with a 1997 installation to celebrate Christmas commissioned by the Tate Gallery.

It featured a large bin filled with empty bottles, used wrapping paper, broken decorations and dead Christmas trees.

Consumer choice

Michael Landy
Mr Landy with his Tate Christmas exhibit

But there is more than rubbish involved in this latest project.

Mr Landy has made an inventory of everything he owns, from odd socks and David Bowie singles to his Saab 900 car.

All 7,006 objects have been labelled and details loaded on to a database.

Each item will be placed on conveyer belts and 10 assistants will begin the destruction.

While many of the items were worthless utensils such as kitchen equipment, Mr Landy will also destroy his valuable art collection, which includes pieces by artists such as Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst.

"I see this as the ultimate consumer choice. Once Break Down has finished, a more personal break down, will commence - life without my self-defining belongings."

See also:

03 Dec 97 | Turner Prize
Gillian Wearing - Turner Prize winner 1997
15 Jun 00 | Business
C&A quits UK
27 Jan 01 | Business
C&A shuts up shop
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Entertainment stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Entertainment stories