When you imagine a saint many ideas may be called to mind, from heroic acts to angelic figures, but it is unlikely that you associate saints with contemporary art work or recycling. Michael Landy challenges our conceptions by bringing to life seven giant moving saints in the National Gallery this May. Landy’s large saintly sculptures have been constructed with fragments of National Gallery paintings and his artistic hallmark material – rubbish and junk.
Landy was born in London in 1963, he went on to attend Goldsmiths College and became part of a generation known as YBAs (Young British Artists). He became best known for his 2011 piece ‘Break Down’. In this piece he catalogued and destroyed every single one of his possessions in a former London department store. His work has varied from enormous installations, performance pieces, drawings and collages. He is a truly diverse artist. His work moves from light-hearted and playful to an eccentric critique of society and how consumerism has alienated us from each other.
He has also produced many pieces of artwork predominantly using waste. This challenges our conceptions of waste with its alternative use. For example, one of his most recent projects ‘Art Bin’ in 2010 was installed in the South London Gallery. The Art Bin instalment encouraged artists from all walks of life to dispose of any of their own work deemed as failures into a huge skip – so huge in fact that it occupied the entire gallery space. Landy writes: “Some of this stuff is worth a lot in the outside world, but in the bin then it has no value, it has no worth”. Thereby, the hierarchy on which society is based has been eradicated within the bin.
For his latest installation, ‘Saints Alive’, Landy scoured skips and car boot sales for enough rubbish to create the saints. The installation will be open to the public in May.
Whilst artists have the time and inclination to find alternative uses for our waste products, it isn’t always feasible to mimic them in our everyday life. Here at Danjos we can provide an alternative practical solution. We offer a comprehensive skip hire service for domestic and commercial clients alike.