Shepherd's Purse 4 (2003)
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Common weeds exist among the urban detritus of empty crisp packets, cigarette stubs and discarded drinks cans. Otherwise over-looked, they are brought to close scrutiny in Michael Landy's series of hard ground etchings. Like much of Landy's work there is a generosity in his attention to the impoverished, here elevating weeds to a subject worthy of serious aesthetic regard. Shepherd's Purse is one of London's most common street weeds. Landy's wondrously detailed study shows it with the post-flowering heart-shaped seedpods that give the plant its name. Landy's series of weed etchings, produced over the last few months, is his most recent body of work since Break Down (2001), in which he fully catalogued all 7227 of his possessions and then publicly destroyed them.