Wednesday 1 October 2014

Interview with Michael Landy

Interview with Michael Landy

Michael Landy (born 1963, London) studied at Goldsmiths and is one of the so-called YBA (Young British Artists) generation, who took part in the first great artist-led warehouse exhibition, Freeze, alongside Damien Hirst, in 1988. He really made his name, however, in February 2001, when he systematically catalogued and destroyed all 7,227 of his personal belongings during a two-week long “performance” in a disused department store on Oxford Street, called Break Down. More recently, Acts of Kindness on the London Underground documented, as its titles suggests, kindly interactions between commuters and users of the transport system. Nowadays, Landy is, as he puts it, albeit very tongue in cheek, “all grown up”, having been elected not only as a Royal Academician, but also made Professor of Drawing at the Academy Schools. “Actually,” he laughs, “I’m just trying to find a way I can get thrown out of there, really. That’s what I’m thinking about at the moment.”

In October 2013, Landy moved in to a new studio on Calvin Street, in trendy Shoreditch. Just around the corner from Spitalfields fruit and vegetable market, the building is one of a whole line that used to be used as warehouse storage space. “You could actually walk between all of the buildings,” Landy explains, “but, at some point, someone decided to turn them into homes.” When he and his partner, fellow artist Gillian Wearing, bought the space at number 27, they had it gutted and built on a new top floor in which they now live. Landy describes it as a “live-work space”, although the studio remains very much just that, and is separate from their private quarters.

To read the rest of this interview, please buy issue 11 (September 2014) of Art.Zip or see the online version, pp55-62, here:

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