Gustav Metzger
Act or perish

Investigation by Hélène Guenin
Summary

Haunted by the mass destruction and industrialised killing for which World War II was the stage, but also by Cold War tensions and the onset of nuclear armament, Gustav Metzger wrote a first manifesto in 1959 in favor of “auto-destructive” art. It is a call to reflect on and radically experiment with the planned obsolescence of materials and the processes of decay that ultimately lead to their disappearance, contextualized by the artist within Western society’s morbid fascination for destruction and, from 1960 onward, the man-made devastation of nature.