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.

 

 

 

“Everything that reduces art to a subjective, subconscious and spiritual discourse is a total adulation that discredits the art world”

Lino Lago looking forward inspiration in daily life to create a painting with a great conceptual load. In his most recent series entitled Fake Abstract, which he will exhibit at Art Madrid with the Moret Art Gallery, he plays with the characteristic elements of abstract painting: line and colour, where under a painting of flat colours they are guessed, through lines, famous classic portraits.

 

His work has been exhibited in renowned national and international spaces such as the Flint Institute of Michigan and the outstanding George Adams Gallery in New York and has participated in important fairs such as Arco, Art Miami or Art Fair “SH Contemporary 09″ from Shanghai.

 

Moret Art brings your production back to the Fair. How do you feel your work fits in Art Madrid?

Works of art today reflect the individualism of their authors; works of art are mobile, they travel and fit anywhere. Needless to say that this individualism is a generalized feature. There is another more academic art which is institutionalized art, less free. Art in Institutions and Government museums is the only one that has reliable regulated guidelines when it comes to “fit” in such places. In this case I normally refer to propaganda art. Art Fairs are generally perfect places to find free art (if that were possible, or made sense to some extent, or if we understand art as a social phenomenon based on liberty.)

 

In your work we can perceive the questioning of the glance as an abstract concept. How do you think contemporary art is viewed today?

There is a social stream that views art with some criticism and skepticism. I think this is healthy and it has a foundation that we do not want to analyze in depth. If we compared it to some other areas we would understand why. For example, in sports we can clearly see a more normal “justice.” He who is objectively faster or stronger wins. Talent in the sports world is something evident and because of that sports are disdained by the world of art. I believe anyone can reach their own conclusions. By all means Art is (in theory) an intellectual phenomenon, which does not mean that art turns intelligent anyone who approaches it, just as anyone who touches a soccer ball is not a Maradona. As an intellectual phenomenon it is impossible for art not to have lots of misguided argumentations, false judgments, sophistry, and hot air.

Your work has been recognized internationally on many occasions… Do you believe that artistic recognition is a dynamic facet?

More than dynamic. The results an artist needs are the sequel of the relationship between the artist and his work and society. This is something that is not learnt in any university.

 

As an artist, what do you feel committed to?

With liberty. This word has almost been shunned from the paraphernalia of today’s art. I am very critical with official art which is nothing but academe. In my work I introduce 19th-century academe as an ironic way of pointing out this problem: I believe that postmodern education and philosophy have been, and still are, a hoax that has diminished the intellectual capability of the humanities.

 

Criticism through irony over a great technical mastery is your hallmark. Although you have a diverse production… do you feel a unity in your work as a whole? Is that generated consciously or is it a natural artistic trait?

In my case I am aware of it. Besides, it is the process of hard work. To speak of naturalness, and above all to speak of unconsciousness is an aberration. Whatever reduces art to a subjective subconscious or spiritual discourse is an all-out sham that discredits the world of art.

 

Do you believe that artistic originality is getting to be difficult to find? Is it there where the value of your work rests?

I believe so. Although the difficulty here is to decide what to be original means. In times where the cultural predominance is in the hands of the passing anecdote, the emptiness, and the all goes… perhaps originality might be something else, right?

 

The gallery Moret Art will present the recent art works of the artists: Daniel Sueiras, Xurxo Gómez-Chao, Miguel Piñeiro, Pilar Diez