Part of: Transmissions
index
Video

Video: Gustav Metzger on the South Bank

by Gustav Metzger on 14 October 2005

'Auto-destructive art re-enacts the obsession with destruction, the pummelling to which individuals and masses are subjected...Auto-destructive art mirrors the compulsive perfectionism of arms manufacture - polishing to destruction point.'

In 1961 on the South Bank in London Gustav Metzger–wearing a gas mask and protective clothing- painted hydrochloric acid stroke by stroke onto nylon canvasses causing their rapid but beautifully aesthetic disintegration. The action was conceived of as a demonstration of an artwork that is simultaneously created and destroyed. This he referred to as Auto-Destructive Art, a concept that has been the cornerstone of his practice for decades. Metzger's is work that consciously resists commodification by the art market, being public, performative, temporary and critical. 'Self-destruction was built into the art as the mirror of a system careering towards annihilation [...] and as a desperate last-minute subversive political weapon...an attack on the capitalist system...(an attack also on art dealers and collectors who manipulate modern art for profit.)' On October 14th he recreated the action, 45 years after the original had taken place, recapitulating his demonstration against the continuance of war, capitalism and the commodification of art.

'Auto-destructive art re-enacts the obsession with destruction, the pummelling to which individuals and masses are subjected...Auto-destructive art mirrors the compulsive perfectionism of arms manufacture - polishing to destruction point.'

Explore

Article

Review: Tris Vonna-Michell at Cubitt

13 February 2012
SHOWstudio reviews Tris Vonna-Michell's Tall Tales and Short Stories at Cubitt.
Video

Video: Jonathan Meese at Tate Modern

25 February 2006
SHOWstudio caught Jonathan Meese's highly charged one-man performance at the Tate Modern.
Video

Video: Ulla von Brandenburg at Tate Modern

23 October 2007
SHOWstudio captures one of the key performances in Tate Modern's The World As A Stage exhibition.