Gustav Metzger reflects on his long and influential career



Gustav Metzger, born in 1926, developed the concept of auto-destructive art where destruction was part of the process of creating the work. Themes of political activism and engagement are heavily rooted in his work. He arrived in Britain as a refugee after losing several members of his family in the Holocaust and was associated with protests against American rocket bases in the UK as well as campaigns for nuclear disarmament. He also went to prison for encouraging mass non-violent civil disobedience.

This new arrangement of his work on display in BP Spotlight: Gustav Metzger: towards auto-destructive art 1950–1962 at Tate Britain reveals how auto-destructive art emerged out of painting and sculpture as much as it communicated Metzger’s activism.