Artist Michael Landy (b. 1963) grew up in East London where he still lives. Throughout his life most of his journeys have started out on the Central line.
Landy was inspired to be an artist when as a child a picture he had made was shown on the BBC TV programme Take Hart. After school he studied art at Loughton, Loughborough and Goldsmiths colleges. Shortly afterwards he achieved acclaim as one of the Young British Artists who transformed the international art scene in the early 1990s.
Landy’s major projects include Break Down (Artangel, 2001), where he destroyed all his material possessions. He made a painstakingly detailed list of everything he owned, totalling 7,227 items. Then, a team of boiler-suited helpers passed them all one by one along a conveyor belt to be shredded and granulated in a former C&A store on Oxford Street. He walked away with nothing but a pair of overalls. The experience led him to reflect deeply on the value of the small acts of compassion that connect us with others, triggering his idea for Acts of Kindness.
His major projects include Semi-Detached (2004), for which he reproduced his parents’ house to scale inside the galleries of Tate Britain, and Art Bin (2010) at the South London Gallery where he invited artists to come and throw away their work.
Landy is currently Associate Artist at the National Gallery. In recognition of his major contribution to contemporary art, he was made a lifetime member of the Royal Academy of Arts in 2008.