Michael Landy (b.1963) is one of the Young British Artists (YBAs). Landy has used monumental installations/performances to explore political and social issues, such as consumerism, the commodification of art and the value placed on human beings in the corporate world.

In 2002, Film and Video Umbrella commissioned Michael Landy as part of Tristero one of several innovative new media projects (the.year.dot, Slipstream, and Silicon Fen), curated specifically for the Internet. Taking its cue from the clandestine postal system in Thomas Pynchon’s underground novel The Crying of Lot 49Tristero invited subscribers to the project website to deposit unwanted files from their mailboxes or hard drives, with the promise that they would be creatively ‘recycled’ by a series of artists.

Seven artists took up month-long ‘residencies’ at the Tristero site, re-purposing, or conceptually re-working, the ‘found’ material. The commissioned artists were Simon Biggs, Simon Faithfull, Brigid McLeer, Michael Landy, Shiho Fukuhara, Jacqueline Donachie.

Landy has been involved in numerous projects demonstrating his fascination with the constructive potential of destruction, most recently in his 2018 exhibition Scaled-Down, in which his earlier works were compressed into small cubic sculptures. His endless delaying tactics in Tristero were reminiscent of a situationist homme revolté enforcing the door policy of an ultra-exclusive salon des refusés – declining to return (or détourne) the gif. Here uninhibited by the confines of the gallery space, Landy continuations his interrogation of value, the expendability of labour, possession and ownership, interactivity and participation.

Landy’s work was the subject of the major survey exhibition Out of Order at Museum Tinguely, Basel in 2016 and his work has been exhibited internationally in venues including Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2015), Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso, Mexico City (2014); National Gallery, London (2013); Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester (2013), National Portrait Gallery, London (2011), Tate Liverpool (2009); Tate Britain, London (2004) and has made major public projects with  Artangel, London (2001) and Kaldor Public Art Projects, Sydney (2011). In 2017, in collaboration with NEON, Greece and the public of Athens, Landy staged the large-scale exhibition Breaking News– Athens at the disused Diplarios School and building over a four-month period. It was followed later that year by DEMONSTRATION, the Fleck Celestory commission at Powerplant, Toronto, with an installation of drawings built with content submitted by the Canadian public. The interactive installation Open for Business, Landy’s ‘Brexit kiosk’, was commissioned for the first Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art in 2018.

His works are held in public institutions internationally, including the Tate Collection, London; the Arts Council, England; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Centre Pompidou, Paris. Landy received a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 2021.

Tristero was commissioned and curated by a FVU and supported by Arts Council England and Arts Council England East.