A new exhibition is opening at the Thomas Lane Gallery this month.
The mechanisms and aesthetics of waste disposal have been of fascination to Michael Landy since research on early projects Scrapheap Services (1995) and Break Down (2001).
Throughout his career, Landy's interest in mechanical destruction has manifested in many forms - from the shredder to the (dis)assembly line, to self-destructing kinetic works. In Scaled-Down, the artist's new body of work, he turns to the methods of industrial waste compaction. The process of destruction becomes not one of obliteration, but of transmogrification and renewal, as sculptures and drawings are re-imagined and re-shaped in unsparing, compressed sculptural form.
Alongside large-scale installation works, Landy is perhaps best known as an accomplished draughtsman and print-maker, working rigorously and exhaustively in series. Sometimes these drawings and etchings are articulated to obsessive detail as in the meticulously rendered botanical series Nourishment. Often they are extensive in their number, as with his vast series of 90 intimate portraits of his family and friends; or immense in their volume, as in Breaking News, which saw the artist create immersive installations of labour intensive oil bar drawings using the codified language of signs and headlines. In Scaled-Down, Landy finds a way to set to 'zero' recent years of his own compulsive production.
Scaled-Down poses questions about how we apportion value to art, who has the right to do so, and how does value change and how does it accumulate. With their language of globalised industrialisation, these works remind us that the art world is a commercial enterprise and teases our ideas of how we define value within that system.
Scaled-Down is open to the public from 2 October - 17 November at the Thomas Dane Gallery, 3 Duke Street, St James's, London, SW1Y 6BN, UK.