Curated by David Bussel
Wednesday 7 September 2005 to Sunday 23 October 2005
Private View: Tuesday 6 September 2005, 7:00PM to 9:00PM
CUBITT GALLERY NEEDS NEWSPAPERS! IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTRIBUTE TO OUR GUSTAV METZGER EXHIBITION PLEASE BRING USED, FOLDED NEWSPAPERS TO THE GALLERY.
Cubitt is pleased to announce the exhibition of a newly commissioned work by Gustav Metzger.
Metzger’s Eichmann and the Angel is an installation including a wall of newspapers, a powered roller-belt conveyor, a reading area and a wood and glass structure that recalls Adolf Eichmann’s bullet-proof `cage’ from his infamous trial in 1961. Inspired by Paul Klee’s painting Angelus Novus, the exhibition connects philosophers Walter Benjamin and Hannah Arendt with Eichmann, and the notion of history as an angel that looks back through the cataclysms of the past whilst heading towards the future. Eichmann and Benjamin stand in metaphorical relation to notions of death and entrapment: the former was responsible for the killing of millions and was executed for his crimes, whilst the latter killed himself in 1940. Arendt, in turn, becomes a kind of witness, someone speaking for a generation: she reflects on Eichmann’s trial in her book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, and speaks for Benjamin in her famous `Introduction’ to his book Illuminations.
Gustav Metzger (b.1926) arrived in Britain a Polish Jewish refugee from Germany in 1939. He is a highly regarded artist and enigmatic figure, who from the early Sixties to the present day has continued a practice that is inextricably both artistic and political and concerned with transformation and process. In 1959, Metzger launched Auto-Destructive Art through actions, manifestos and lectures that sought to make thematic the destructive potential of the twentieth century as a “form of public art for industrial societies”; Metzger’s most renowned action was his `Demonstration’ on the South Bank where he `painted’ hydrochloric acid onto nylon canvases. Two further significant interventions are the `Destruction in Art Symposium’ of 1966 and `Art Strike’ in 1974, where he enjoined all artists to cease their production for a period of three years.
Gustav Metzger has been exhibiting in the UK and internationally since 1959. Recent solo exhibitions include a retrospective at Generali Foundation (Vienna), who produced History History, the most comprehensive publication on the artist, and shows at T1+2, London and Museum of Modern Art, Oxford. Gustav Metzger will give a talk at the Slade School of Fine Art on Wednesday, 26 October 2005 at 4:30pm.