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view of Gustav Metzger's "Supportive" exhibition

Published: 20 marca 2015 Views: 4261 Art, Exhibitions, Home

ACT OR PERISH! GUSTAV METZGER – A RETROSPECTIVE

Exhibition opening: Friday, 27th March, 2015 at 7 pm

Centre of Contemporary Art, Torun
Exhibition opening: Friday, 27th March, 2015 at 7 pm
28.03–30.08.2015
European Night of Museums: 15th and 16th May, 2015
free entrance for special educational programs and workshops
Symposium: 28th and 29th May, 2015

Kunsthall Oslo and Stiftelsen Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo
Exhibition opening: Saturday, 7th November, 2015
8.11.2015–17.01.2016

Curated by: Dobrila Denegri and Pontus Kyander

 

 

Act or Perish. Gustav Metzger – a Retrospective is the first extensive overview of an artistic oeuvre considered as one of the most important in the 20th century, and spans the period from the late 1940s until today. It includes a systematic insight into Gustav Metzger’s early years of political activism and his formative years as an artist. Showing the influence of environmental and political engagement on his artistic radicalization, it includes documentary material from the artist’s newly rediscovered own archives.
Gustav Metzger was born in 1926 in Germany to a family of Polish-Jewish descent. He grew up in the shadow of increased Nazi propaganda and power display in his hometown of Nurenberg. Metzger was rescued in 1939 and taken to England by the buses of the Refugee Children Movement, while his parents and elder brother perished in the Holocaust.
A central role in Gustav Metzger’s art is held by his manifestos for Auto-Destructive art – the first was published in 1959. The exhibition sheds light on how this radical move evolved from his experiments and developments with painting. In particular, his ‘demonstrations’ with acid paintings, together with works on industrial materials, like mild steel and plastic, show a direct relationship to the manifestos for Auto-Destructive art.

Parallel to this and as a direct counterpoint, Gustav Metzger wrote a manifesto for Auto-Creative Art and worked on related projects, where he allowed autonomous processes to develop forms and movements beyond the artist’s control, and in close proximity to science and technology. The ever changing and moving color patterns spontaneously created in his Liquid Crystal Projections became popularized through the aesthetics of Psychedelic bands like Cream and Pink Floyd – in the same way as Gustav Metzger’s lectures on Auto Destructive Art inspired Pete Townsend and The Who to their trademark action of finishing concerts by demolishing their instruments on stage.
Inspired just as much by the strategies of early 20th century vanguard movements like Dadaists and Futurists as by political activism, Gustav Metzger was also involved in some of the emerging movements of the post-WW2 era. He was invited to the first Fluxus manifestation in Britain, the Festival of Misfits in 1964. Metzger also initiated the Destruction in Art Symposium (DIAS), a gathering of artists, gallerists and art activists in London in 1966.
In the 1990s, interest in Gustav Metzger’s work started to surge again. An extensive exhibition at Oxford MoMA in 1995 presented his older works, together with an entirely new body of works, called Historic Photographs. In these works Gustav Metzger used photographs from distinctive moments in 20th century history, representing violations of human dignity, political violence, and environmental abuse. These works are often, but not always, hidden, blocked or made unavailable in various ways to the viewer. Eichmann and the Angel (2005) is central among his late large-scale works, together with In Memoriam (2006), which is a tribute to Walter Benjamin. These works – where cardboard and newspapers have been used, show a strong continuity in the materials Gustav Metzger has used throughout his career; a raw,industrial aesthetic, a fascination with printed media, and an exploration of the tragedies of our time.
Act or Perish. Gustav Metzger – a Retrospective starts at the Centre of Contemporary Art in Torun (Poland) and will travel to Kunsthall Oslo and Kunstnernes Hus (Norway). Each venue will present distinctively different exhibitions, as CoCA Torun will provide a wide overview of Gustav Metzger’s career and works, while Kunsthall Oslo and Kunstnernes Hus will present deeper researched aspects of his works – his Auto Creative works, his works for public space and a much wider selection of documentary material.The exhibition tour will be accompanied by a book, containing contributions from the curators and experts on Gustav Metzger’s work, as well as a conference on the topics of artistic activism and extinction which will take place at CoCA Torun on 28–29.05.2015.

The Project entitled GUSTAV METZGER – THE RETROSPECTIVE is co-financed within the Programme „Promotion of Diversity in Culture and Arts within European Cultural Heritage”  from the EEA Grants 2009-2014 and from Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage funds. The aim of the project is to increase cultural dialogue and foster European identity through understanding of cultural diversity.

 

  • photo of Gustav Metzger's Auto-Destructive Art manifesto
    Manifesto Auto-Destructive Art, 1960,second Manifesto includes also first manifesto, typescript text, reproduction with stencil, print run approx. 150, 30.5 x 20 cm, Archiv Sohm, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, © photo: Blaise Adilon, photo courtesy: MAC Lyon
  • photo of Gustav Metzger's Auto-Destructive Art, Machine-Art, Auto-Creative Art manifesto
    Auto-Destructive Art, Machine-Art, Auto-Creative Art, 1961, third Manifesto (South Bank Manifesto), includes also reprint of the first two manifestos, offset print, 28.2 x 21.7 cm, Archiv Sohm, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, © photo: Blaise Adilon, photo courtesy: MAC Lyon
  • photo of Gustav Metzger's "Supportive" exhibition
    Supportive (detail), 1966–2011, 7 Kodak SAV 2050 slide projectors with control units, rotating polarized filters, liquid crystals, Collection of Musee d'art contemporain, Lyon, © photo: Blaise Adilon, photo courtesy: MAC Lyon
  • photo of Gustav Metzger's "On Random Activity in Material / Transforming Works of Art"
    On Random Activity in Material / Transforming Works of Art, 1964, fifth manifesto, published in SIGNALS: Newsbulletin of the Centre for Advanced Creative Study, London. Vol. 1, No. 2, p. 14, September 1964, printed alongside the reprints of the first three manifestoes: Auto-destructive art. 4.11.59, Manifesto auto-destructive art. 10.3.60, Auto-destructive art. Machine Art. Auto-creative art. 23.5.61, 50.5 x 34.5 cm, © photo: Blaise Adilon, photo courtesy: MAC Lyon
  • photo of Gustav Metzger's Auto-Destructive Art manifesto
    Auto-Destructive Art, 1959, first Manifesto includes also a statement on Cardboards, typescript text, print run approx. 150, 33 x 20.5 cm, Archiv Sohm, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, © photo: Blaise Adilon, photo courtesy: MAC Lyon
  • photo of Gustav Metzger's Historic Photographs: Trang Bang..."
    Historic Photographs: Trang Bang, children fleeing, South Vietnam, April 1972, 1998, bromide print dry-mounted on aluminum, bamboo screen, lights with random generator, 373 x 627 cm, courtesy of the artist
  • photo of Gustav Metzger's "Light Drawings"
    Light Drawings, 2014, photographic prints, unique, photo courtesy: Kettle’s Yard
  • photo of Gustav Metzger's "Liquid Crystal Environment"
    Liquid Crystal Environment (detail), 1965, remade 2005, M5 control units, liquid crystals and 35mm slides, polarizing film, Collection of Tate Modern, photo courtesy: Kettle’s Yard
  • photo of Gustav Metzger's "Cardboards"
    Cardboards, 1959, found cardboards, selected and arranged by G. Metzger at 14 Monmouth Street, W.C.2, from Monday 9th–30th November 1959, © photo: John Cox
  • photo of Gustav Metzger's "Historic Photographs: To Walk Into..."
    Historic Photographs: To Walk Into – Massacre on the Mount, Jerusalem, 8 November 1990, 1996 / 2011, bromide print on vinyl, cloth cover, 237 x 394 cm, © 2010 Gustav Metzger, photo courtesy: The New Museum, NY
  • photo of Gustav Metzger's "Historic Photographs: Till we have built Jerusalem..."
    Historic Photographs: Till we have built Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land, 1998 / 2007, color photograph on aluminum, tyres, 150 x 200 cm, © all rights reserved Gustav Metzger, photo courtesy: The New Museum, NY, photo: Benoit Pailley
  • photo of Gustav Metzger's "Kill the Cars"
    Kill the Cars, Camden Town, London 1996, 1996 / 2011, © 2010 Gustav Metzger, photo courtesy: The New Museum, NY; photo: Benoit Pailley
  • photo of Gustav Metzger's "Historic Photographs: No1"
    Historic Photographs: No.1: Liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto, April 19–28 1943, 1995, photograph mounted on Forex, board and rubble, 150 x 211 cm, © 2010 Gustav Metzger, photo courtesy: The New Museum, NY
  • photo of Gustav Metzger's "Supportive" exhibition
    Supportive (detail), 1966–2011, 7 Kodak SAV 2050 slide projectors with control units, rotating polarized filters, liquid crystals, Collection of Musee d'art contemporain, Lyon, © photo: Blaise Adilon, photo courtesy: MAC Lyon
  • photo of Gustav Metzger's "Supportive" exhibition
    Supportive (detail), 1966–2011, 7 Kodak SAV 2050 slide projectors with control units, rotating polarized filters, liquid crystals, Collection of Musee d'art contemporain, Lyon, © photo: Blaise Adilon, photo courtesy: MAC Lyon
  • photo of Gustav Metzger's Manifesto World
    Manifesto World, 1962, fourth Manifesto, neither original nor facsimile preserved; reprint self-published, print run approx. 150, 39 x 52 cm, Tate Archive, © photo: Blaise Adilon, photo courtesy: MAC Lyon
  • photo of Gustav Metzger's "Supportive" exhibition
    Supportive (detail), 1966–2011, 7 Kodak SAV 2050 slide projectors with control units, rotating polarized filters, liquid crystals, Collection of Musee d'art contemporain, Lyon, © photo: Blaise Adilon, photo courtesy: MAC Lyon
  • photo of Gustav Metzger's "Mica Cube"
    Mica Cube, 1968, remade 2014, acrylic, mica, air, photo courtesy: Kettle’s Yard

 

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