Animatronic, Interactive Robot Saints Are Aliiive

May 23, 2013 | Julia Dawidowicz

Inspired by the Renaissance-era Christian art adorning the walls of London’s National Gallery, resident artist Michael Landy puts a grotesque, contemporary spin on the lives (and deaths) of Saints. Seven interactive large-scale kinetic sculptures make up Saints Alive — on view through November.

Constructed from fragments of National Gallery paintings and mechanical junk parts scavenged at flea markets, the towering sculptures tell the stories of the saints’ deaths through animatronics, activated by levers and cranks. St. Apollonia’s hand springs up holding a tooth with a pair of pliers — she allegedly had her teeth brutally ripped out. There’s a very headless St. Thomas. It’s morbid, fun and somewhat steampunk. Saints Alive, Michael Landy, May 23-Nov 24, The National Gallery, London.