On Thursday, Jian speaks to UK visual artist Michael Landy
, whose exhibition at London's National Gallery this summer features kinetic sculptures resembling saints that slowly destroy themselves.
is not for the easily offended. In one room Saint Apollonia bashes herself in the face and pulls out her teeth with a pair of pliers, while in another, Saint Francis hits himself over the head with a crucifix.
Most of Landy's giant kinetic sculptures are bent on self-annihilation, and some, like Saint Jerome, feature foot pedals for visitors willing to power the punch.
"Basically [Saint Jerome is] an old man who beats his chest with a rock," said Landy, who was drawn to single-minded martyrs that he believes have been forgotten or "junked," and who he would like to bring back to life.
Saint Jerome (2012) towers over a visitor to the National Gallery's Duerckheim Collection. (National Gallery)
The artist himself has been nicknamed the "Patron Saint of Destruction," and once mused that he might be forever known as "that bloke who destroyed all his belongings."
(In 2001, Landy loaded his worldly possessions onto a conveyor belt to be shredded, dismantled and otherwise crushed for Breakdown --
a piece that made his mother cry.)
Now Landy is the unlikely artist in residence at London's famed National Gallery, a place he admits he never visited growing up and knew little about. His loud, clanging works stand out in an otherwise tranquil building filled with 13th to 19th century Western European paintings.
Many who have seen his work are remarking on its singularity on social media.
As always, we welcome your comments on the exhibit or the interview. Thanks for listening.