Michael Landy: Saints Alive

Michael Landy, in his position as associate artist at the National Gallery, has spent two years working with the images of saints in the early Renaissance galleries.

Michael Landy working on Saints Alive in his National Gallery studio © Michael Landy, courtesy of the Thomas Dane Gallery, London / Photo: The National Gallery, London

Michael Landy working on Saints Alive in his National Gallery studio

Working with rubbish, old machinery and wheels, he has created giant mechanical representations of Apollonia, Catherine, Francis, Jerome and Thomas that will move in ways that echo their celebrated deeds.

A strange choice of subject matter, one might think, for a YBA, but the use of materials does connect back into his career and it is tempting to read his earlier work ecclesiastically. Consider his Break Down (2001), in which he not only renounced his worldly goods, but systematically destroyed them, and the Credit Card Destroying Machine, which he installed in the 2011 Frieze art fair – as efficient a way as any to drive the money lenders from a temple of art. 

Venue details

National Gallery Trafalgar Square London WC2N 5DN 020 7747 2885 www.nationalgallery.org.uk

Entry details

Free to all

Daily, 10am – 6pm (Fri, 10am – 9pm)

Closed 24 – 26 Dec and 1 Jan

What the critics say


What makes his take on the world so interesting to me is that he rejects both the materialism of Marxism on the one hand and of consumerism on the other in favour of a third possibility, that we can live our lives according to spiritual values,