Sunday 17 May 2009

Michael Landy - Break Down (2001)

A recurring theme in most of books and films mentioned earlier is how objects which are prone to being nostalgic and therefore provoke memories and emotions, are removed from society to be left with a very bland environment where people walk around mindlessly, reducing procrastination and increasing the efficiency of the economy.

Break Down involved Michael Landy documenting every item in his possession and then proceeding to destroy them all - a comment on contemporary consumer capitalism. In this case however, it has been his own personal decision and is similar to the lifestyle that a Buddhist monk might live.

Having performed such a theatrical spectacle one would wonder how Landy's next work would respond to this rather traumatic event in his life. His answer was to go back to appreciating very tiny plants, in this case weeds which are completely overlooked on a daily basis. However, his incredibly detailed etchings reveal how fantastically intricate they can be and for him I think the process was very therapeutic.

I think weeds are particularly interesting as they seem so fragile however they manage to grow pretty much everywhere, from the cracks in a wall to the pavement and can exist without very much sustenance.

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