Gustav Metzger: Writings

Congratulations to Mathieu Copeland on his eagerly-anticipated book which brings together all published writings of conceptual artist Gustav Metzger. Totalling nearly 700 pages and including some 350 texts this important book gives a great advantage to historians to have everything in one place, as well as a wonderful introduction to a new audience who have yet to discover this artist.  Metzger invented Auto-Destructive Art and was a pioneer of computer art; he was among the first artists in Britain to consider the possible creative use of computing technologies at the same time as warning of its potential dangers.  The Need for Art to Change the World – An International Symposium on Gustav Metzger, convened by Copeland took place at Zurich University of the Arts this month.  I was honoured to attend, see my lecture Shouldering the Tasks of the Century.

See also my article for Studio International published last month.

Event Two at the Royal College of Art

This July the Computer Arts Society is celebrating the 50th anniversary of EVENT ONE, their first exhibition as a fledgling group, held at the Royal College of Art in 1969.

An exhibition of historical and contemporary digital art and a programme of events will be at the RCA from 12-17 July, travelling to Leicester from 22 July. I will be presenting a paper at the symposium on the evening of Tuesday 16 July at the RCA, do come along and hear about the origins of the Computer Arts Society and the continuing legacy of the EVENT ONE show which featured artists such as Gustav Metzger, Alan Sutcliffe and many others.

Remembering Gustav Metzger 1926-2017

I feel privileged to have known the ground-breaking artist Gustav Metzger

Gustav Metzger at the book launch of A Computer in the Art Room, CAS event, London 2008

who passed away a couple of weeks ago.  He was a very early member of the Computer Arts Society and the first editor of our journal PAGE from 1969.

His links with the early world of British computer arts is discussed in my article published today on the BCS



Auto-Creative Art

Gustav Metzger, Liquid Crystal Environment, 1965/2005, exhibition view. Kettles Yard, University of Cambridge photo: Paul Allitt
Gustav Metzger, Liquid Crystal Environment, 1965/2005, exhibition view. Kettles Yard, University of Cambridge, photo: Paul Allitt

On view last month in Cambridge was Gustav Metzger’s Auto-Creative art, a variety of materials and methods demonstrative of his long interest in kinetic art, particularly movement and random activity. His 1964 statement “At a certain point the work takes over, is in activity beyond the detailed control of the artist, reaches a power, grace, momentum, transcendence” is apt for an installation which has both a hypnotic visual and a psychedelic delivery.  Read the full review and learn about his connection to the Computer Arts Society here.