The present work belongs to a group of drawings made in relation to Scrapheap Services, a large-scale installation acquired by Tate in 1997. This was Landy’s most imaginative work in which he invented a waste-disposal firm with the object of cleansing society of undesirable members in a ruthlessly efficient way, while retaining a bright and sunny landscape as its visual logo and smartly uniformed workers. Thousands of cut-out figures (made from street rubbish) are swept up and fed into an alarming shredding machine called the ‘Vulture’.
The group of highly detailed ink drawings, recording the work’s evolution and fabrication, remind us in turn of an obsessive ‘mad scientist’, a child’s delight in page-filling and a medieval monk illuminating a manuscript. All combine a comic riff on advertising with mordant social satire. They are unprecedented among works on paper by Landy’s YBA contemporaries.
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