Michael Landy – ‘Breakdown’

Man ‘destroys’ life for art

Michael Landy is an installation artist who  got rid of everything he owned for his exhibition in 2001 called ‘Break Down’. He shredded or granulated things from socks to family photographs, leaving him with no possessions for the sake of ‘art’. The reason for the piece being an examination of society’s romance with consumerism.

The title isn’t just about the breakdown of the objects in Michael Landy’s life, or the breakdown of the materials that create them, but it also reflects the emotional breakdown Landy will face.

He made an inventory of everything he owned, from socks to cds, even his car, amounting to 7,006 objects and 10 people were needed to assist in the destruction. Landy didn’t just destroy everyday objects, he also got rid of his valuable art collection too.



Michael Landy’s inventory of his possessions also included every item of furniture, every book, every piece of food, every cat toy, taking three years to complete the final inventory, containing 7,227 items. They were classified into 10 categories: Artworks, Clothing, Equipment, Furniture, Kitchen, Leisure, Motor Vehicle, Perishables, Reading Material and Studio Material.

He used a large bespoke machine and with a team of people reduced every object to shredded or granulated material. It was on display for two weeks in former C&A store on Oxford Street, London, described as ‘Landy’s consumer nightmare’.

From: Art Angel


Once complete, Landy said: “When I finished I did feel an incredible sense of freedom,” he says, “the possibility that I could do anything. But that freedom is eroded by the everyday concerns of life. Life was much simpler when I was up on my platform.”

From: The Guardian




The Guardian


breakdown michael landy

From: http://spyridongiasafakis.blogspot.co.uk/p/research-paper.html



– Sounds like Michael Landy did an extreme spring clean of his life, perhaps a way to free himself from the consumerism that we are all drawn to. He wasn’t just getting rid of his possessions, but things that define who he is, a part of his identity, gone.

– This links to the theme of collecting and holding on to things we don’t need, but value.

– But did Landy go too far in destroying other artists works? Was this experience really freeing or restraining?

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