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Thursday, December 11, 1997 Published at 19:54 GMT


Christmas is rubbish, says Tate
image: [ Eh-oh! Teletubbies are only fit for the dustbin at the Tate ]
Eh-oh! Teletubbies are only fit for the dustbin at the Tate

A dustbin full of rubbish is the Tate's idea of Christmas 1997.

The London gallery, no stranger to controversy with its displays of modern art, has put on "Christmas Tree 1997" as its latest exhibit.

Described as a "deeply moral work", symbolising the massive consumption and waste in modern society, it consists of a damaged Teletubby doll, supermarket bags, drink cans, a pizza box and a dead tree, all stuffed into a red rubbish skip.

The words "Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year" are written on the side and the bin is signed by the artist, Michael Landy.

"I will be giving presents this year but like anyone I feel both positive and sceptical about Christmas," he said, adding that he wanted visitors to appreciate the aftermath of the festive season.

Refuse is very much a part of the 34-year-old's oeuvre. 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.

This is the tenth year a tree has been commissioned by the Tate at Christmas. The gallery said parts of the work would be recycled when it is removed from display in the lobby on January 4, but most of it would be thrown away.

Tate Gallery curator of interpretation Simon Wilson said: "It has been very carefully placed together.

"We know that every child is going to make its parents buy a Teletubby and it is a symbol of the mad consumption of some aspects of Christmas and the way children are exploited.

"This kind of work has a place in modern art that goes back to Picasso - he made a series of sculptures in 1914 from scrap wood that he found in the streets. He went on doing that all his life. Making art out of real things is legitimate."


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