Hermit in the City-Interview with Michael Landy
大隱於市-專訪藝術家邁克爾·蘭迪


ML_Art Bin_2010_Installation View_South London Gallery, London

Landy does try to visit his studio daily, largely enabled by living upstairs, but this is, admittedly, “only unless I can find something else to do!” He has no specific routine to speak of. “That’s the terrible thing, in a way, because then I have to create my own routine, I have to create myself, basically. Every day, when I come here, I have to think about what I’m going to do. And the worst bit, actually, is just sitting down and forcing myself to do it, because I get really distracted. But that’s it, isn’t it? It’s just me and it in the end and no one else cares. It’s always been a struggle. This is very typical for me. I go through cycles of being very productive and then not being very productive. That’s how it’s always been. And this is the worst bit, when you don’t quite know what you’re doing.

There once was a gallery that said they couldn’t make any financial sense out of me. If it were left up to me, if I were left to my own devices, the whole art world would be over by now. There’d be empty art fairs and empty galleries everywhere. I’m not playing the game very well. I’m not a very productive artist, basically. But that’s the way I want it. I’m happy being like that.”

蘭迪嘗試每日在工作室內工作--無論如何,他就住在工作室樓上--他打趣地說:“只有當我沒有別的事可做的時候才會去工作室!”他並沒有一個特定的工作時間。“這挺糟糕的,因為我要為自己創造規律,說白了,就是創造我自己。每一天,當我來到工作室,我就要思考我要做些甚麼。事實上,最糟糕的事是強迫我自己去做些甚麼,因為我很容易走神。但是,本來就是這樣的,不是嗎?到頭來,這一切與別的任何人無關。我一直在掙扎,這對我來說是家常便飯。我有時非常有效率,有時沒那麼有效率,週而復始。我一直是這樣創作的。而當你不知道做甚麼好的時候,那是最糟糕的。”

“有一家畫廊曾對我說,他們不能在我身上賺到任何錢。如果我能選擇,如果我能按著我的喜好創作,整個藝術界現在就不存在了。全世界都將充滿著空蕩蕩的藝術博覽會和空蕩蕩的畫廊。我不是很擅長玩藝術與金錢的遊戲,基本上,我不是一個非常高產的藝術家。但這是我想要的,我也因此而高興。”

Where does Landy draw his inspiration from, faced, quite literally, with a blank canvas? “I refer to some books, I read, and then my mind starts to wander. Most artists have postcards on the wall, or stuff to inspire them, but I can’t be bothered with that. I don’t have those kind of references, I usually chuck them out. I do have sketchbooks, though, and I write ideas in books.”

When Landy did his residency at the National Gallery, he had to derive his work from the collection, as that was his remit. “I wanted to engage the public, physically, very differently from when you look at a painting. Saints have such fabulous stories. There’s a lot of flagellation in Renaissance art. I was brought up Irish Catholic, so I could really relate to this. Irish Catholicism is all about beating yourself up. I’ve always had a slightly destructive bent to my art too.”

對著空白的畫布,蘭迪的靈感來源是甚麼呢?“我從書中獲得靈感,閱讀,然後我的想法開始擴散。很多藝術家在牆上放滿明信片或諸如此類的事物以獲得靈感,但我不想這麼做。我沒有這種具體的靈感來源,我往往把這些東西扔了。然而我还會使用草稿簿,並常記錄下自己的想法。”

蘭迪在參加倫敦國家美術館的藝術家進駐項目時被要求以館藏為基礎創作個人作品。“我希望直接地與公眾交流,而不僅是盯著畫作看。聖人們有着那麼奇妙的故事。文藝復興藝術中有大量的鞭刑場景。我來自於一個愛爾蘭天主教背景的家庭,所以我能夠感同身受。愛爾蘭天主教的一切都與揍自己一頓有關。我的藝術中也常有這種自我毀滅傾向。”

ML_Break Down

Landy’s studio space really is more of an office space, a drawing board space, a space for birthing ideas. “It’s probably a place to go. I wouldn’t want to go to a coffee shop,” he admits. “I’m often sat there scribbling away about ideas, reading a bit, and writing things down.” Landy’s actual works are generally produced off site by artisans whom he commissions for their specific skills. “I don’t make things by hand, on the whole. My drawings I do, but not my sculptures. I normally have the idea first and then think about it a lot and find people to go and execute it. I’m quite happy on a kitchen table, most of the time. I don’t need a lot of space. I just have space, but I don’t actually need it. I think the studio is a millstone around my neck, really. It is a paradox.”

Given his destructive bent, and his lack of studio requirements, I wonder why Landy has never considered destroying his studio. “I never got as far as to destroy the studio itself,” he says, “because I never owned the studio.” Well, he does own it now, so who knows what might happen? It seems as though there’s no need to anticipate further destruction, however. “I always say to Gillian that we should rent it out.” I remind him that he has two spaces. Will he maybe let one go? “No, no. I’ll keep both. I like buying empty spaces. That’s what people are complaining about in London, aren’t they? That lots of foreigners are coming over and buying flats and just leaving them empty. And I’m just doing the same.” Not quite, Michael, not quite. Your studio spaces may be physically empty, but, like your head, they are, I am sure, full of ideas; ideas which we look forward to seeing come to fruition.

蘭迪的工作室更像是一個辦公室,一個孕育想法的空間。“這裡就是一個我可以去的地方,我不想去一個咖啡館之類的場所。在工作室中,我常記下一些想法、閱讀,再進行一些寫作。”蘭迪的實體作品經常是委託工廠在倫敦以外的地方完成的。“一般來說,我不動手製作。我自己完成繪畫,但是不會親自完成雕塑。我一般的工作方式是:我先構建一個想法,大量地思考並完善這個想法,再找人來執行這個想法。在一個桌案上工作我就已經很滿意了。我不需要很大的創作空間。我所擁有的只有空間,然而我並不真的需要這空間。我覺得工作室是一個負擔。這聽起來很矛盾吧。”

我不禁好奇,為甚麼這樣的一位有毀滅傾向的、不需要工作室空間的藝術家,沒有考慮毀掉他自己的工作室。“我還沒想過要毀掉自己的工作室,我還沒那麼極端,因為我以前從來沒有真正擁有過一個工作室。”不過,現在他已經擁有這個工作室了,誰知道接下來會發生甚麼呢?似乎接下來也不需要他再做更多的“毀壞”類型的作品了。“我常對吉莉安說我們應該把這裡租出去。”我提醒蘭迪他現在已經擁有兩個工作室了。他會捨棄其中一個嗎?“不,不。我兩個都留著。我喜歡買空蕩蕩的空間。這也是倫敦人一直在抱怨的事,大量外國人前來購置公寓,交易完成了就離開,使這些公寓變成了空置房。我居然也在做同樣的事。” 邁克爾,你和他們还不太一樣。你的工作室看起來是空的,但我相信它就像你的腦子一樣,裡面充滿了各種奇思妙想,而我們正期待這些想法可以慢慢實現。


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