Gustav Metzger, ‘Recreation of First Public Demonstration of Auto-Destructive Art’ 1960, remade 2004, 2015
Gustav Metzger, Recreation of First Public Demonstration of Auto-Destructive Art 1960, remade 2004, 2015 . Tate . © Gustav Metzger

Room 7 in Artist and Society

Gustav Metzger

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Gustav Metzger, Projects Realised 1 (Monument to Bloody Sunday)  1972, 1998

In 1971 Metzger submitted several formal proposals for public art projects. While the projects only existed as plans, this work was titled as if it had been carried out. Metzger had simply designated a secretive Ministry of Defence building in central London as a monument to ‘Bloody Sunday’. Metzger’s gesture marked the events of 30 January 1972, when British soldiers opened fire on a civil rights march in Derry, Northern Ireland. Thirteen protestors were killed, many others were wounded, and another man died later of his injuries. To define this project as ‘realised’ was an act of provocation towards the British government.

Gallery label, June 2021

© Gustav Metzger

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Recreation of First Public Demonstration of Auto-Destructive Art

Gustav Metzger, Recreation of First Public Demonstration of Auto-Destructive Art  1960, remade 2004, 2015

Metzger described auto-destructive art as ‘a public art for industrial societies’. His first demonstration was at the Temple Gallery, London, on 22 June 1960. At first Metzger was hidden behind a pane of glass covered with a white nylon sheet. He applied a hydrochloric acid solution to the fabric with a brush. As the nylon dissolved, he slowly became visible through the holes. The presentation also included waste in plastic bags and models for auto-destructive sculptures. This recreation was made for the exhibition Art and the Sixties: This was Tomorrow in 2004 at Tate Britain.

Gallery label, December 2020

© Gustav Metzger

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Gustav Metzger, Stockholm June: A project for Stockholm 1-15 June 1972, Phase 1 and Phase 2  1972, 2013

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Art in this room

Projects Realised 1 (Monument to Bloody Sunday)
Gustav Metzger Projects Realised 1 (Monument to Bloody Sunday) 1972, 1998
Recreation of First Public Demonstration of Auto-Destructive Art
Gustav Metzger Recreation of First Public Demonstration of Auto-Destructive Art 1960, remade 2004, 2015

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Gustav Metzger Stockholm June: A project for Stockholm 1-15 June 1972, Phase 1 and Phase 2 1972, 2013

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