I have, during research, been reminded of Michael Landy and his work entitled Breakdown.  This is probably his best known work to date, a performance art piece which sees Michael himself, along with 10 assistants reduce all his belongings to dust.  All that remained after those two weeks were himself, his girlfriend, the assistants and the machinery that in essence destroyed his world. 

Every one of Michael’s possessions were catalogued and packed away, bought to a disused C&A outlet in London and placed on the conveyor belt to be taken apart and destroyed one by one.  Everything went, Michael’s Car, his birth certificate, a coat he had inherited from his father’s death. 

This work to me is truly horrific and Breakdown inducing, as anyone who has lost treasured possessions will explain the heart wrenching feelings of loss that are felt, and here is a guy destroying possessions for art’s sake.  It does make you question though, what is really necessary in this life to be able to survive?  It makes a comment on what we deem necessary is more about what the commercial world like us to think is necessary rather than what is *ACTUALLY* necessary.

It is interesting to note that after this work was completed, everything had been reduced to rubble and rubbish, unrecognisable to its original form that Michael didn’t display the outcomes or sell them on for profit, almost like a death, no one but the closest people get to view the body and then it’s disposed of.  And the other stark thing is that Michael didn’t produce any work after for a year once Breakdown had been finished.  I believe he suffered some kind of breakdown of his own once the realisation of what had taken place had kicked in. 

My thoughts…crazy? Definitely.  Art? Yes, it makes you size up your own life and re-assess.  sensible?  Probably not but so very brave and interesting though not something I would advise….

And I leave you with this interview from youtube…

2 thoughts on “Breakdown

  1. Sue Brown says:

    This is hugely thought-provoking – thank you for the information on this piece of work, I hadn’t heard of it before.

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