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  • Artist Michael Landy famously destroyed all his worldly possessions in 2001
  • He now lives in a minimal converted warehouse in London’s trendy Shoreditch neighborhood
  • His upcoming retrospective, Michael Landy: Out of Order, opens at Museum Tinguely in Basel, Switzerland in June

This article was originally published by The Spaces, a digital publication exploring new ways to live and work.

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(CNN)You would be forgiven for thinking that artists Michael Landy and Gillian Wearing had just moved into their home in London’s Shoreditch. Only the bare minimum of furnishings — beds, a table and a few chairs — pepper the spacious former warehouse.

This sparsity is no surprise given the artist famously destroyed all his worldly possessions in 2001. Break Down — a performance piece inside an empty store on Oxford Street — saw all 7,227 of them reduced to pulp.

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We quizzed Landy about his four-storey home, where he is busy plotting his upcoming retrospective at Basel’s Museum Tinguely.

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    Michael Landy: All I really wanted was a space to think, which is hard to come by in the city. I do most of my thinking in the studio downstairs. The “making” happens in our other studio on Vyner Street [also designed by Marta Nowicka], which is the messy space. I say “messy” but I mean messier. Gillian and I like order.

    My mum is an avid cleaner — she’s a Catholic, which probably has something to do with it. She likes to clean until she erases things and I’ve definitely picked up some of that trait.

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    Has your attitude to possessions changed since you destroyed all your possessions?

    Yes, because it becomes a big weight around your neck if you’re going to traipse around in Western society without any possessions. I needed the basics to carry on living and working. But for me, bringing something into the house is a big psychological and intellectual issue. Which is absurd, I know. That’s why we don’t even have a barbecue set and we have to sit on the ground if we go out onto the terrace…

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    If you could inhabit any space in any building across the world besides your own, what would it be?

    I like ruins (if you can call them buildings). That’s partly to do with my attraction to destruction and also because I like waste and leftovers. I’m intrigued by what we think about waste and the value we attach to it. I find broken concrete and bits of wire protruding from walls really beautiful.

    ‘”Michael Landy: Out of Order” opens at Basel’s Museum Tinguely on 8 June.

    Visit The Spaces for the full interview, and a closer look inside Landy’s home.

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