Anna McNay

Review of Michael Landy: Saints Alive at the National Gallery


Michael Landy: Saints

National Gallery,
Sunley Room

23 May – 24 November

“Before we go any further, can I just make sure that you
actually know who I am and that you know what I do?” This was the question with
which Michael Landy (born 1963) announced himself upon arrival at the National
Gallery having been invited for consideration for the Rootstein Hopkins
Foundation Associate Artist scheme. A Goldsmiths graduate (1985-1988), a YBA,
and a participating artist in the notorious Freeze exhibition (1988), Landy is
probably best known for his 2001 installation, Break Down, for which he took over an empty department store building
on Oxford Street and systematically catalogued and destroyed everything he ever
owned. One might, therefore, understand his uncertainty. Nevertheless, he was appointed
as the gallery’s eighth Associate Artist and accordingly given a studio for two

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