METZER, Gustav

1926 - 2017

Gustav Metzer

Gustav Metzger, was born at Nuremberg, then in the Weimar Republic, on 10 April 1926, of Polish parents. As a refugee he come to England in 1939 under the auspices of the Refugee Children Movement. He received a grant from the UK Jewish community to study at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp 1948-1949. An artist and political activist who developed the concept of Auto-Destructive Art and the Art Strike. Auto-destructive art was about the event rather than the object. It defined the joining of his art and activism, to become a powerful voice in anti-nuclear protest and environmentalism. Its first manifestos followed Metzger’s involvement with the Direct Action Committee against nuclear war and its actions against missile bases in East Anglia. Its materials, which were often pitted against each other, came from industry as well as the studio. In 1959, Metzger published the first auto-destructive manifesto Auto-Destructive Art, this was given as a lecture to the Architectural Association School of Architecture in 1964, which was taken over by students as an artistic 'Happening'. One of the visiting lecturers at the Ipswich School of Art. Metzger lived and worked in London and died on 1 March 2017, aged 90.