GUSTAV METZGER \"ACT OR PERISH\"

Gustav Metzger. The Southbank Demonstration, London 1961 (1961). Foto: © Getty Images

 

 

Gustav Metzger (Nürnberg 1926), an artist and political activist, grew up surrounded by Nazi propaganda. His Judeo-Christian origins forced him to emigrate to England along with one of his brothers, the rest of his family did not suffer the same fate. This experience has always accompanied the works of Gustav. With a bitter and nostalgic flavor, the artist has always supported the extreme left by leading initiatives on the recovery of historical memory. For him protest art is a way of denouncing other aspects such as the extinction of species or the cultural diversity in which we find ourselves. The basis of his work is based on social foundations and change. On numerous occasions they have defined him as a visionary or even an advance for his time.

 

View of the exhibition

 

In this retrospective presented at MUSAC (Museum of contemporary art of León), the curator in charge of Dobrila Denegri and Pontus Kyander shows an aerial view on the trajectory of one of the best artists of the S.XX. The exhibition has works from 1940 to the present. Of course the most recurrent themes are the environmental and political commitment with artistic connotations. The ability to reflect his own convictions in works of art characterizes him. The exhibition is composed of a large number of documentary material extracted much of his personal archive.

 

 

View of the exhibition

 

 

It is the first time that a sample in Spain of this caliber on Gustav Metzger is realized, it narrates what have been his more marked transitions. He began doing painting and sculpture, from there he derived to destructive art and creative self. "Acting or perishing" refers to the political activism he defends against capitalism and the communicative state of art that has accompanied him throughout his career. Completing these documents, are exposed a series of historical photographs and large format facilities that made since the 90s.

 

Gustav Metzger. Liquid Crystal Environment

 

 

Gustav reflects in his work his ability to analyze the society of the moment and translate it into his works. He has always advocated radical movements. Inspired by these demonstrations, which suffered their greatest apogee after the Second World War, Futurism and Dadaism were great sources from which to absorb their knowledge. It was also present in the first visualization of the fluxus movement which contributed to forge that eclectic and futuristic personality. A must on any agenda if you are going to visit Leon.

 

 

 

The CEART opens this Thursday, November 14th in the room A an exhibition dedicated to this master of photography, which will be open to the public until February 9th. The show includes one of the artist's latest projects, focused on the hard work carried out by the miners of Serra Pelada, an open gold mine in the heart of Brazil where employees daily risked their lives.

Immigration, poverty, marginal life, slave labour, man's relationship with the land, the use of natural resources... are issues that have always fascinated Salgado. From the beginning of his career as a photographer, his work has opted to give visibility to the most disadvantaged groups and to create with his images a vivid and impressive visual story without fakes. With a raw black and white, this author's work transits between photo-reportage and naturalistic photography.

And the idea that permeates all his work is human dignity. Salgado portrays employees, miners and gatherers from a purely humanistic approach that wants to value their integrity, their strength and their resilience.

“If you photograph a human, so that he is not represented in a noble way, there is no reason to take the picture. That is my way of seeing things.”

Salgado entered this discipline long after completing his studies in economics between Brazil and the United States, and a doctorate in statistics in France. But in 1973 his life took a turn, and he decided to start his career as a photographer. He achieved to work at the Gamma Agency and Magnum Photos for more than 15 years until in 1994 he founded his own agency “Amazonas Imagen”.

With the “Gold” project, the photographer portrays a harsh reality that takes place in the Serra Pelada mine, a name given to a totally devastated and anarchically excavated mining enclave, the world's largest open-pit gold mine, through which more than 50,000 people have passed. In the heat of the legends about the mysterious “El Dorado”, the enthusiasm for this precious metal led to the development of strenuous exploitation practices for the workers and to originate tales of grief and glory, of human victory and defeat between the soil, the tunnels and the cargo baskets.

The CEART exhibition brings together Salgado's full portfolio in his characteristical black and white and large-format photographs that leave no one indifferent.