Semi Detached

Finally getting round to the long forgotten blog posts I’ve been meaning to do all summer. I’ve had the exhibition guide from The Whitworth’s Michael Landy’s show in my laptop bag the whole time, so I feel it’s only right to write about it. I had a few hours spare in Manchester all those many months ago so decided to take a trip to The Whitworth Art Gallery. I always enjoy a trip to The Whitworth. I always come away inspired. It’s a great space to exhibit work, wide open spaces, and I always seem to go alone, so it becomes a real adventure for me. The last time I went I saw Mary Kelly’s Multi Story House–  a piece of work that has always stuck with me. I can remember walking into the house itself, the house full of light and full of text. It was a very personal experience. It’s probably a big reason why I continue to enjoy works with an interactive experience for the viewer.

Michael Landy’s; Semi Detached is the piece that really stuck with me from this particular visit to The Whitworth. Though only a photograph of what was the original installation at Tate Britain back in 2004, the photograph still left me in awe as it showed “the installation of a monumental and meticulously rendered sculptural replica of the front and rear facades of his parents’ Essex home.” Michael Landy had made the exact replica of his family home! Every nook and cranny accounted for. Each crack in the paint work noted. The detail was incredible. The photograph shown at The Whitworth shows Landy’s parents stood in front of the installation. The piece has been re-named Semi Detached- John and Ethel Landy. I wonder how different the piece has become with them stood in front. Before, the house could have belonged to anyone; with the occupants stood outside we learn a great deal more about the house. They stand proud outside their home, owning the property. It becomes a lot more personal.

What also intrigues me about this piece is what is going on inside? Landy has created the; “replica of the front and rear facades of his parents’ Essex home” but what’s inside? I guess absolutely nothing. Just the fact that I’m pondering this makes me want to create this interactive experience. I want to peer into those windows, through the net curtains. Or walk down the sides of the house and see the empty shell beneath.

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