Hermit in the City-Interview with Michael Landy

TEXT BY 撰文 x Anna McNay 安娜·麥克內
TRANSLATED BY 翻譯 x Bowen Li 李博文
IMAGE COURTESY BY 圖片提供 x the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery, London 邁克爾·蘭迪及托馬斯·戴恩倫敦畫廊

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Michael Landy (born 1963, London) studied at Goldsmiths and is one of the so-called YBA (Young British Artists) generation, who took part in the first great artist-led warehouse exhibition, Freeze, alongside Damien Hirst, in 1988. He really made his name, however, in February 2001, when he systematically catalogued and destroyed all 7,227 of his personal belongings during a two-week long “performance” in a disused department store on Oxford Street, called Break Down. More recently, Acts of Kindness on the London Underground documented, as its titles suggests, kindly interactions between commuters and users of the transport system. Nowadays, Landy is, as he puts it, albeit very tongue in cheek, “all grown up”, having been elected not only as a Royal Academician, but also made Professor of Drawing at the Academy Schools. “Actually,” he laughs, “I’m just trying to find a way I can get thrown out of there, really. That’s what I’m thinking about at the moment.”

英國YBA當代藝術運動的重要成員邁克爾·蘭迪(Michael Landy)1963年生於倫敦,曾就讀於倫敦大學金史密斯學院。他也在1988年與達明安·赫斯特(Damien Hirst)等人一同參加了有里程碑意義的展覽《冰凍(Freeze)》。然而,他最為人稱道的作品是他在2001年2月完成的行為作品《崩潰(Break Down)》:在兩週時間內,蘭迪在牛津街一家空置的百貨商場內有系統地紀錄並銷毀了他所有7,227件個人物品。蘭迪近期的作品包括《善舉(Acts of Kindness)》,一個對倫敦地鐵系統內乘客之間友好互動的紀錄。蘭迪在最近被選為皇家美術學會院士,也成為了皇家美術學院的繪畫系教授。他半開玩笑地說,他“現在終於長大了”。“事實上,”他幽默地說,“我現在想的是要怎麼脫離這個體系。”

In October 2013, Landy moved in to a new studio in trendy Shoreditch. Just around the corner from Spitalfields fruit and vegetable market, the building is one of a whole line that used to be used as warehouse storage space. “You could actually walk between all of the buildings,” Landy explains, “but, at some point, someone decided to turn them into homes.” When he and his partner, fellow artist Gillian Wearing, bought the space, they had it gutted and built on a new top floor in which they now live. Landy describes it as a “live-work space”, although the studio remains very much just that, and is separate from their private quarters.

2012年十月,蘭迪在時髦的肖爾迪奇(Shoreditch)區購置了一間工作室。毗鄰斯畢塔菲爾德(Spitalfields)市集,這間工作室坐落於一系列連排房之中。他與同為藝術家的愛人吉莉安·崴爾玲(Gillian Wearing)把空間進行了清理和改造,現在居住於新完成的頂層公寓中。在工作區域與生活區域之間有着明確的分隔,蘭迪称其為“生活/工作空間”。

For an artist, who, in his student years used to squat in vacated buildings in South East London, having such a pristine studio space, as well as a second studio, which he mainly uses from drawing, in arts hub Vyner Street, Bethnal Green, must be quite a new experience. “When I left art college in the 1980s, the art world was a very different place from how it is today,” Landy says. “I went to college in South East London. You could find vacated buildings there, you could squat, you could find subsidised housing very cheaply. We used to literally bring the electricity in off the street. We’d get a kango and rig it up ourselves. That’s how we began – it was much more of a cooperative. It’s much more difficult now for young people, in a different way from how it was with us. For us, we had to deal with the British indifference towards the visual arts. But obviously now that’s all changed. I’d like to think that it was because of us.”

對於一個曾經在學生時期私自佔據於東南倫敦廢棄大樓內的藝術家來說,這樣的一個高檔整潔的工作室是一個全新的體驗(這已是蘭迪的第二間工作室。他的另一間工作室位於Vyner Street,那里聚集著許多藝術家工作室及畫廊)。“我畢業於上个世紀80年代,那時的氛圍與現在簡直是天壤之別。我就讀的學院位於倫敦東南,在那裡你可以輕易地佔據廢棄的大樓,也能找到很便宜的廉租房。為了省錢,我們曾經自己拿著重型器械把街上的電線接到公寓里。我們就是那樣開始的--互相幫助,自力更生。現在的年輕一代很不容易,面臨著非常不同的狀況。對於我這一代來說,我們要面對的是大眾對於視覺藝術的漠不關心。我傾向於相信因為我們曾經做出的貢獻,現在的狀況很不一樣了。”

Indeed, the YBAs are responsible for a seismic shift in art consumption – and, as a knock on effect, no doubt, art production. “I remember, when we were at college, we were actually very naïve,” Landy continues. “We didn’t know how to promote ourselves. But then you see the generations that come after you become more and more knowledgeable. We just kind of made it up as we went along. There was no master plan or anything. Nowadays it’s all about the commodification of art. Galleries are getting bigger spaces and then artists have to fill those spaces, so obviously the whole production thing has to get to a whole new level as well.”


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