They call him, “The Man Who Destroyed all his Belongings”.
British artist Michael Landy achieved global notoriety back in 2001 with his provocative masterpiece “Break Down”. In it, he publicly destroyed every last one of his belongings that he had amassed over his 37 years on the planet, in the middle of London’s Oxford Street, to the soundtrack of David Bowie and Joy Division. The list ran to 7,227 possessions and included precious family heirlooms, love letters, clothes – even his Saab Turbo. It was – and still is – a timely Opus Magnus on how so many of us use our possessions to construct our identity.
Landy later described his bold artistic statement – a Bonfire of the Vanities for the 21st century – as “the happiest two weeks of his life”. The talking-point artist has now set his sights on Athens for his latest artistic exploration. From March 30 to June 11, Landy will stage his first show in Greece, called “Breaking News” at the Diplarios School – and has asked the citizens of Athens to help him create it.
NEON (Cultural Organization for Contemporary Art) has commissioned Landy to map people’s feelings, reactions and experiences of the current state of the city. Landy, in turn, has invited residents and visitors to the capital to send him an image that reflects their own vision of Athens.
You can help actively participate in the production of Landy’s historic installation by sending images that reflect your daily interactions with the city and help to capture contemporary Athens; and its social and political landscape. He is particularly looking for: images that imprint the social condition, news headlines, texts, symbols and logos, aphorisms and street slogans. Over the course of the next few months, images selected by Landy will take shape as a common canvas, in the form of blue and white drawings, pinned directly on the walls of Diplarios School, in the centre of Athens.
Says Michael Landy:
“I’m trying to open up a [kind of] bridge between me and the Greek public and am asking them about how they feel. What is interesting for me is that I don’t know what I’m going to get, that is the interest, it can come from the left, the right, it can be social, it can be political. It is an avenue of communication with everybody really and I don’t want to be presumptuous about what we are going to get. In some respects, we are like a copy center.”
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED
The exhibition space at Diplarios School, Platea Theatrou 3, Athens, will open to the public on March 30 and the installation will be completed on June 11, 2017. Afterwards, participants may retrieve their work.
Submit your images in digital format via the NEON website HERE or as hard copy in the exhibition space, on Fridays from 12pm to 7pm.
You can also follow the work in progress on Instagram @breakingnewsathens
Insider Weekly, March 29, 2017.