Canvas :: Michael Landy’s Acts of Kindness
October 12th 2011
Nick La Rosa
Everyday acts of kindness go unnoticed all the time, but it’s thanks to Michael Landy that we’re being reminded to appreciate the simplest gestures of human caring. Landy, who is one of Britains most celebrated experimental artists, has created one epic installation in Martin Place with the help of John Kaldor Art Project in conjunction with this year’s Art and About. This is no simple artwork – the 13×7 meter installation maps Sydney’s CBD and shows us where these ‘acts of kindness’ can be located among our city streets.
After his call out for submissions in July, Landy collated the best 200 stories of everyday generosity and began scheming as to where they were to be dispersed throughout central Sydney. His wooden jigsaw-style map of the city is entertaining and creates a sound juncture to the formalised surrounds of Sydney’s rather bleak General Post Office building.
It’s all a little out of character for Landy. He’s known for delivering art tainted with nihilistic undercurrents and destructive tendencies. After all, it was Landy who engaged in the burning of all his personal belongings, including his passport and birth certificate for his 2001 work Break Down, which attacked consumerist ideology. Acts of Kindness seems to revert to art that is far less confrontational than what he’s been known to produce before.
Landy’s latest work fares well in reiterating the interconnectedness of life and art, and in turn foregrounding the classic ‘art vs. life’ redux. Acts of Kindness illuminates 200 warming stories of Sydneysiders’ genuine interest and care for one another and encourages unique acts of engagement. Audiences can partake in the art making process themselves by scouting out where these acts of kindness have taken place.
What: Acts of Kindness by Michael Landy
Where: Martin Place and throughout CBD
When: Until 23 October
How Much: Free love