Gustav Metzger’s (1926–2017) entire oeuvre is defined by his writings. Since 1959, his manifestos have been the cornerstone of his radical and everlasting impact on art, art history and society. Metzger has done more than raise awareness, his art and philosophy are a stark testimony to the alternative world for which he strove. Organised to coincide with the release of the all-encompassing anthology Gustav Metzger: Writings (JRP | Editions, Oct 2019), this international symposium brings together seminal critics, curators, scholars and fellow artists to envisage Metzger’s art and philosophy and his imperatives: auto-destructive and auto-creative art, the Destruction in Art Symposium DIAS (London 1966), computer arts, the crisis in technological art, and social responsibility of artists.
Concerned with the looming threat of extinction, Gustav Metzger sought to create “worldwide movements in response to the accelerating decimation of the natural world through human-made activities leading to mass extinction.” To offer a prospective outlook, this symposium aims to provoke, expose and discuss the fundamental Thesis of our societies and the state of our world in a time of climate crisis, set within a specially designed documentation lounge where videos and audio recordings on and by Metzger will be shown, alongside an exhibition of posters by artists Ursula Biemann, Graciela Carnevale, Cécilia Cavalieri, Douglas Coupland, Karl Holmqvist, Swetlana Heger, Franck Leibovici, Liliane Lijn, David Medalla, Ben Morea, Phill Niblock, Ben Vautier, Jacques Villeglé, et al., who each wrote the sentence that gave this symposium its title – THE NEED FOR ART TO CHANGE THE WORLD –, which Metzger coined in 1993 and strongly resonates now more than ever.
Jonathan Benthall (Director Emeritus of the Royal Anthropological Institute, UK)
Mathieu Copeland (Curator, initiator of the symposium and editor of the anthology “Gustav Metzger: Writings”, FR/UK)
Ivor Davies (Artist, UK)
FM Einheit (Musician, former member of Einstürzende Neubauten, DE)
Catherine Mason (Art historian, specialist in computer and digital art, UK)
Norman Rosenthal (Independent curator and art historian, former Exhibition Secretary of the Royal Academy, UK)
Kristine Stiles (France Family Professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies
Duke University, USA)
Andrew Wilson (Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary British Art, and Archives, at Tate Britain, UK)
Hans Ulrich Obrist (Co-Director of the Serpentine Galleries, UK)
Jerome Ravetz (Philosopher of Science, Associate Fellow at the Institute for
Science, Innovation and Society, University of Oxford, UK)