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Introduction to the Historic Photographs of Gustav Metzger
Interview with Gustav Metznger

Introduction to the Historic Photographs of Gustav Metzger
Alison Jones

Gustav Metzger is an artist whose body of work the 'Historic Photographs' has incorporated giant press photographs of catastrophic events of the 20th century; the Holocaust and Nazi rallies as well as the Vietnam war, the Arab-Israeli conflict, terrorism and environmental destruction. It is difficult not to read the whole of Metzger's artistic output in the context of his own life which has intersected tragically with some of the century's catastrophic historical moments. The connection is particularly apparent in the later works which explore the Jewish subject and 20th century history. The aim of this introduction is to give some biographical details and point to connections between the artist's personal history and world history, and reflect on the transformation of subjective experience into artworks which seek to avoid the purely autobiographical.

Gustav Metzger was born in 1926 into a Jewish-Polish family in Nürmberg, the notorious centre for Nazi rallies. As Nazi persecution of Jews intensified and his father and sisters were arrested, he and a brother were evacuated in 1939 to England through the Kindertransport scheme. His parents along with other members of the family died in Poland during the course of the war. Amazingly his 2 sisters managed to escape from Poland and made their way to England and eventually ending up in Palestine.

In 1942 Metzger worked as a furniture-maker in Leeds where he encountered the work of sculptor Henry Moore and other contemporary artists. At the same time he became interested in revolutionary politics and was introduced to the work of Wilhelm Reich. He worked as a gardener and in 1944 he moved to Bristol and lived in a commune of Anarchists and Trotskyists. He decided to become a sculptor, and meeting Moore at the National Gallery, asked to become his assistant. He followed Moore's advice that it would be better for him to go to art school to study life-drawing.

Metzger studied at various art schools in Cambridge, London, Antwerp and Oxford. The painter David Bomberg, who was also Jewish, taught Metzger and was influential in his development. He travelled in Europe with a grant and exhibited paintings in group exhibitions in London at the Ben Uri gallery, the Whitechapel, and the Berkeley Galleries whilst working as a labourer on and off until 1953.

He moved to Kings Lynn and worked as a junk dealer, discovering the 'This is Tomorrow' exhibition of British artists and architects at the Whitechapel Gallery which he described as one of the deepest art experiences of his life. He showed his support by hiring a shop to show posters by the artists in the window. Later he organised a modest exhibition of work by some of the artists in the show.

He became a founder member of Kings Lynn CND and took part in the 1959 Aldermaston March.

In 1959 Metzger wrote a manifesto 'Auto-destructive Art' and connections have been drawn between this and the ideas of Bakunin regarding the dialectical relationship between creation and destruction. From these ideas Metzger developed an 'aesthetics of revulsion' which he has referred to many times throughout his career. Self-destruction was built into the art as the mirror of a system careering towards annihilation. He describes his Auto-destructive art 'as a desperate last-minute subversive political attack on the capitalist system...(an attack also on art dealers and collectors who manipulate modern art for profit.') 1

He abandoned painting in favour of using everyday objects taken from the real world - cardboard packing cases Cardboards, newspapers, polythene bags of fabric scraps from garment factories. The 'readymade' art object, as first proposed by Marcel Duchamp, in Gustav Metzger's hands emphasised the social dimension. The 'readymade' objects contained within themselves both a demonstration of the machine age's creative potential and a critique of the wastage of consumerism.

In 1961 Metzger was jailed for civil disobedience with the Committee of 100, the anti-nuclear war group formed with the philosopher Bertrand Russell.

In a statement made to the court before he was taken to jail Metzger made the following unusually personal statement;

I came to this country from Germany when 12 years old, my parents being Polish Jews, and I am grateful to the government for bringing me over. My parents disappeared in 1943 and I would have shared their fate. But the situation is now far more barbaric than Buchenwald, for there can be absolute obliteration at any moment. I have no other choice than to assert my right to live, and we have chosen, in this committee, a method of fighting which is the opposite of war - the principle of total non-violence. (2)

In 1961 on the South Bank in London he painted hydrochloric acid onto nylon canvasses wearing a gas mask and protective clothing, so that eventually the canvas disintegrated South Bank Demonstration. The demonstration was of an artwork being simultaneously created and destroyed. His second manifesto on Auto-Destructive Art stated 'Auto-destructive art re-enacts the obsession with destruction, the pummelling to which individuals and masses are subjected...Auto-destructive art mirrors the compulsive perfectionism of arms manufacture - polishing to destruction point.' (3)

The language and metaphors Metzger uses clearly have reference to the military machinery of the capitalist state. Writing about Metzger's performance, Kristine Stiles describes the temporal structuring and timing of 'South Bank Demonstration' as symbolic of the artist's personal relationship to the Nazi gas chambers.

Metzger formulated his theory precisely 20 years after he was sent to England as a child of 12 in 1939, following his family's arrest by the Gestapo in Nuremburg. 20 seconds then is a temporal analog for the time it took to destroy his personal world by killing his family; 20 years, the time of gestation in his own auto-transformation.

Temporality in destruction art is the index of duration that confronts consciousness with the cycle of construction and destruction manifest in cultural artefacts and technological objects as well as in nature. This temporality reinscribes the psyche of the social body with a memory of the finite which must function as an effective agent in the reaggregation of consciousness around the concept of survival itself.(4)

Metzger also at this time conceived of a series of public art monuments, time-based sculptural projects which would be machine-made and would auto-destruct by the gradual transforming of their material over time. Typical would be a monument made of steel that would corrode over time through the action of pollution in the atmosphere.

Metzger was the initiator of the Destruction in Art Symposium in 1966, an event which marked a significant moment in the history of international exchange amongst artists associated with the counter-culture. DIAS as it was known was a forum to explore destruction in art and to relate this destruction to destruction in society. Organised in the midst of the Vietnam War it brought together Yoko Ono, John Latham, Hermann Nitsch and the Viennese Actionists (performing outside of their own country for the first time). Ad Reinhardt also contributed a statement. As organiser Metzger was prosecuted over Hermann Nitsch's performance in which he bathed in the blood of a dead animal. Journalists at the time doubted the morality of using acts of destruction to protest against destruction.

The attitude to science and technology in Metzger's work is not undialectical. Creative potential is evidenced in Auto-creative art, (the counterpart of Auto-destructive art), the most fully realised examples being his liquid crystal light projections first shown in 1965. Chemicals, machines, the factory assembly of art and computers were aspects of technology that Metzger explored throughout the 1960s and 1970s. But the uses to which technology and science are put in capitalist society have led Metzger to a more pessimistic outlook on the potential for benign technology in recent years.

His works consciously resisted commodification by the art market, being public, performative, temporary and critical. Invited to participate in the group exhibition Art into society/Society into Art at the ICA in London in 1974, Metzger declined due to his disillusionment with the increasing commercialisation of art. He contributed a statement to the exhibition catalogue calling for 'Years without Art 1977-1980, a period of three years when artists will not produce work, sell work, permit work to go on exhibition and refuse collaboration with any part of the publicity machinery of the art world'.(5)

The intention was to rally artists around the idea of protesting against the commodification of art, and give artists a period in which to reflect on the uses to which art is put under capitalism, and the possibilities for art to engage with society. Metzger was alone in his art strike, and proclaimed that most artists were 'disgusting bastards'.(6)

He himself withdrew from both art production and the art world and embarked on years of research which included organising, with Cordula Frohwein, a conference 'Art in Germany under National Socialism' in London in 1976, the first to take seriously the subject of National Socialist art, architecture and design.

Metzger lived in Frankfurt in 1980 and participated in a group exhibition 'Vor dem Abbruch' at the Kunstmuseum, Bern. His installation comprised photocopies from National Socialist publications listing all the laws passed against Jews from 1933 up to the last one in 1943.

In the early 1990s Metzger was engaged in art historical research in the Netherlands, returning to London in 1994. Here he began an entirely new body of work, the 'Historic Photographs', enlarged press photographs, presented in an installation. The photographs are all obscured, cloaked or framed by materials and objects all of which present obstacles to the usual fleeting consumption of mass media images.

In Metzger's exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art Oxford in 1998 he presented ten photographs of momentous or tragic events of the twentieth century. The personal and world historical catastrophes come together in the photographs and it is difficult not to read the works in the light of the biographical details given in the book accompanying the exhibition.

The first work in the show was 'The Ramp at Auschwitz, Summer, 1944' Selection at Auschwitz, then 'Hitler addressing the Reichstag in Berlin after the fall of France, July 1940' Hitler in the Reichstag.This image is covered by a formica casing reinforced with steel, the interior is lit with a neon light. Following this is 'Liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto, 19 April, 28 days 1943' Warsaw Uprising. This is placed behind a barrier of rough wooden planks which are slotted at each end into tall metal casings. The planks recall images of the sides of the cattle trucks used by the Nazis for mass deportations by train to the camps.Next is 'Hitler-Youth, Eingeschweisst' Hitler Youth which is entirely encased between two steel sheets and welded shut.

On the floor after the Hitler-Youth piece is a cloth covering a huge photograph of the Viennese Jews forced to scrub the pavements, its title is 'To crawl into - Anschluss, Vienna, March 1938.' Vienna. Immediately behind this work is 'To walk into. Massacre on the Mount, Jerusalem, 8 November 1990.' Palestinians. In front of this is hung a heavy curtain behind which the viewer is invited to go in order to see the image. Forced up close, the viewer is confronted with the image of Israeli policemen toting automatic rifles guarding arrested Palestinians lying on the ground.

At the end of the room entirely bricked in by breeze-blocks is a photograph of a fireman holding a bloodied baby rescued from the Oklahoma bombing. Oklahoma Bombing.

Then 'Trang Bang, Children fleeing South Vietnam.' Trang Bang: children fleeing. South Vietnam which is totally obscured by a bamboo screen and visible only when internally illuminated at random intervals.

'Jerusalem, Jerusalem' is essentially a curved corridor made from pvc sheets stretched over wooden frames on which are printed two photographs of violent acts of the Arab-Israeli conflict in Jerusalem. They are the first Arab car bomb in 1948 Jerusalem, and Israelis pushing down the wall dividing Jerusalem Jerusalem 2 to recapture the old city in 1967, and the viewer passes between these two images.

The last image, the only colour photograph in the exhibition, is of Twyford Down Twyford Down, deeply scarred by the construction of a motorway. This is mounted on a concrete slab and enormous caterpillar tracks.

Many of the press photographs are instantly familiar and some have been reproduced in the mass media so many times that they could almost be said to be iconic. But the viewer cannot consume the images in the customary way because the artist has intervened in the presentation of the photographs to prevent a straightforward recognition of these events, and this produces paradoxical effects.

Firstly, several are enlarged so that the physical relationship of the bodies in the photos to the body of the viewer is accentuated. Rather than being small images fitting between text in a newspaper or existing as regular -sized photographs where the people are small, reduced in scale, some of these images reproduce the people in them to be closer in scale to a real person standing in front of the photograph. Instead of being windows onto the world some almost engulf the viewer in the imagery. In some this causes the grain of the photographic print to be emphasised to the detriment of the images' intelligibility.

Secondly, viewers are expected to participate in the works by physically climbing under, or passing behind, materials and objects that cover the images or interfere with the viewer's ability to look directly at them. Some works frustrate expectations by obscuring the images entirely. In order to see some of the works the viewer is also obliged to perform acts that mirror the acts in the photographs.

Thirdly, the constructions and objects attached to the photographs have a material resonance that inflects our reading of the images. The photograph of the Warsaw Ghetto behind wooden planks that recall the cattle trucks is a case in point.
Fourthly, these photographs are of specific historical events, and are placed together in a way that provokes an examination both of history and the way history is transmitted and constructed through photography.

As Auschwitz is the doorway to the section of the exhibition which contains the Historic Photographs, Adorno's words on the impossibility of lyric poetry after Auschwitz are invoked, as all the other photographs are placed physically 'after Auschwitz'. Because Auschwitz is not chronologically the first of the Historic Photographs, placing it as the entrance to the exhibition clearly foregrounds the idea that in the long shadow of the most unimaginable event of the 20th century, aesthetics are at best a distraction and at worst can be an evil mechanism of deception. (This theme is underlined by the juxtaposition of Auschwitz with an image of extreme aestheticisation, as one walks from Auschwitz into 'Hitler addressing the Reichstag'.)

Entering at the piece 'The Ramp at Auschwitz, Summer 1944' viewers must walk through an entrance arch onto a crude, creaky wooden ramp. They pass between two walls and are only permitted to turn in one direction as steel bars block the other route. The wall facing the viewer is fly-posted with photocopied sheets of paper which together make a gigantic blow-up of a photograph of the ramp at Auschwitz. It shows newly-arrived Hungarian Jews waiting as pairs of high ranking SS officers oversee the separation of men from women and children. The spectator must pass along the line. What is happening in the photograph is hard to make out. Forced physical confinement and closeness to the grain of the print frustrate attempts to focus on faces as the grey blobs refuse to cohere and reveal detail. The viewers' physical performance in line mirrors the queue, walking similar creaking planks as they are herded along past the enormous image. The optical confusion generated by the pixelation of the image and the viewers' attempt to grasp the sense of the scene mirrors the incomprehension of the arrivals.

Auschwitz, as well as being the nightmare of the 20th century after which there could be no more poetry (7), Vienna was a devastating personal catastrophe for the artist who, after many years of denial finally acknowledged the fact that his parents probably met their fate in that place. For Metzger - an escaped Jew - an image such as this of Jews rounded up and deported to the death camps must have been agonising documentation. One of the essays in the book accompanying the exhibition describes the experience of watching Alan Resnais' film Night and Fog where a camera pans from contemporary moving images in colour of Polish landscape to stark black and white documentary photographs of the Nazi death camps as coming close to what Metzger's relationship to images of the Holocaust might have been.

This is the memory of Gustav Metzger, a man who lives in a perpetual state of night and fog, an artist who must constantly interact with the nightmare of the 20th century. Sent as a boy to England he avoided the actual experience of the death camps, a fate not shared by his parents who died there. The most horrendous of Metzger's memories like Resnais' film , are therefore mostly second hand, yet all too real, the black and white images quickly passed over in books and journals brought back to life in the mind's eye. (8) Jerusalem

For those who never witnessed a distant event, photography seems to be able to bring it closer to them, to bring the truth of an event to them. But when the distance of an event is reduced through the various technical media that act over a distance, it brings the event to us, yet at the same time everything is in some ways more distant than ever before. Firstly the event is taken out of the context from which it takes its meaning, and secondly what we are actually brought closer to is the event's reproduction. What we are brought closer to is different from the event in itself. What we encounter is the distance without which an event could never appear: a distance that comes in the form of an image or a reproduction. So the technical reproduction of an event whilst appearing to bring it closer also paradoxically installs a greater distance. There is the obvious mark of mediation through technical media and distanciation from the event in the obtrusive photographic grain of the Auschwitz photograph.

There is another aspect of distance in the Reichstag image. Hitler's events were staged to be photographed, as Leni Riefenstahl writes of the Nürmburg congress, '…the event was organised in the manner of a theatrical performance, not only as a popular rally, but also to provide the material for a propaganda film…Everything was decided with reference to the camera.'(9) Oklahoma Bombing

In 1934, the year of the Nürmburg rallies, Junker wrote;
'Today wherever an event takes place it is surrounded by a circle of lenses and microphones and lit up by the flaming explosions of flashbulbs. In many cases the event itself is completely subordinated to its' transmission; to a great degree, it has been turned into an object. Thus we have already experienced political trials, parliamentary meetings, and contests whose whole purpose is to be the object of a planetary broadcast. The event is neither bound to its particular space nor to its particular time, since it can be mirrored anywhere and repeated any number of times These are signs that point to a great distance.' (10) Trang Bang: children fleeing. South Vietnam

The Nazis were the most image-obsessed movement in world history and their effort to impose their vision of the world on the German nation through the technical media is a matter that has preoccupied Metzger. The Nürmburg rallies of Metzger's childhood were a terrifying lesson in the aestheticised politics of the Nazis. The Hitler-Youth photograph shows the Führer standing to attention in his gleaming open-topped chauffeur-driven Mercedes-Benz as it glides by massed ranks of perfectly choreographed youth and party members all with their arms raised in the Nazi salute.
The image orgies of the Third Reich are entombed in cold industrial casings, the Reichstag behind Formica, an internal neon light blinds the viewers preventing them from seeing, the Hitler-youth are entirely welded shut Welding of Historic Photographs between two sheets of cold rolled steel. What might the intention here be? Metzger was determined to debate the art of the Nazis when he organised the conference Art in Germany under National Socialism. He encountered in German art historians an unwillingness to deal with or to try to understand the qualities of Nazi art. Does the artist want us to consider the Nazis and their epic manipulation of the technical media as petrified, sealed away, finished? The continuation of fascistic behaviour within the rest of the historic photographs would suggest otherwise. Might the Führer's orchestration of events as spectacle be most objectionable to Metzger as the most blatant expression of the malignant effect of technical reproduction?

The photograph of the Jewish boy being arrested in the Warsaw Ghetto comes from the photo album compiled by the Nazi commander personally responsible for the liquidation of the ghetto. What is outside this image of catastrophe is the recording of the event, the setting up of an apparatus, the focussing of an artificial eye, the setting of the shutter speed without all of which this event could never appear to the world as an image.

As the mass media expands, it correspondingly increases the methods and means by which the world and its peoples are further objectified. In 'Damaged Nature, Auto-destructive Art' Metzger writes that moral disengagement is fostered by the mass media. 'No-one can sustain a moral outrage against the onslaught of the media. When people eat, watching executions…' (11) . Jerusalem He alludes to the way the mass media turns historical catastrophe into an object for mass consumption, in the worst cases for prurient entertainment. To paraphrase Benjamin on photography, 'it has turned the struggle against misery into an object of consumption. In many cases indeed its political significance has been limited to converting revolutionary reflexes, insofar as these occurred within the bourgeoisie, into themes of entertainment and amusement which can be fitted without much difficulty into the cabaret life of a large city.'(12) Jerusalem

Benjamin regarded the relationship between industrialisation and technological revolution, mechanical reproduction and its role in the creation of masses, specifically with relation to the Nazis, as something that warranted urgent investigation: 'The violation of the masses, whom fascism with its Führer cult forces to its knees, has its counterpart in the violation of an apparatus which is pressed into the production of ritual values'. (13) Jerusalem 2

In the ongoing drive to war in the contemporary world the relationship between the technical media and technical warfare can be as close in liberal democracies as it was under the Nazis. For Baudrillard the technology of modern warfare and the transmission of its representation go hand in hand. The representation of war on television is more important than events on the ground, a radically distanced, technically controlled, eminently 'cool' post-modern optic which, in the doing, becomes an instrument of war itself. (14)

'To Crawl into; Anschluss, Vienna' is an enlarged photograph of the Viennese Jews scrubbing the pavements, surrounded by a jeering crowd of onlookers. It is placed on the floor and covered with a cloth. To see the whole photograph viewers must get down on their knees, put the cloth over themselves and crawl about on top of the picture. This act is psychologically uncomfortable: you must stand on top of already downtrodden people, you crawl over their bodies, and you must also get into the same position physically that the Jews were forced into. The viewer is asked to perform empathetically and yet disrespectfully by climbing over with their shoes on. The viewer's body becomes intimately implicated in the image through his or her body, not via a disembodied eye.

The photograph juxtaposed here is 'To walk into: Massacre on the Mount.' To see the image one must get behind a large rough cloth hanging a few inches in front of the photograph. Getting behind the cloth the viewer is forced up close to an image of Israeli policemen brandishing automatic weapons.

First in 'Anschluss' we walk over the Jews. Then over fifty years later in 'Massacre on the Mount' we are menaced by Israelis walking over Palestinians. The physical engagement which forces the viewer to perform both a violation and then to be themselves intimidated, works against the distancing effect of the events' technical reproduction.

Metzger asserts, 'Never before has the body been so threatened as now. The body is taken on by an emergent ever-enlarging assembly of instrumentation, surrounded by surrogates who replicate and replace the body. The human being is locked into a technoid double and becomes a mere template of that machinal self.' (15) In the Historic Photographs he puts the body at the centre of the experience of these events, and does it through the event performed by the viewer.

The treatment of Jews and Arabs in the Historic Photographs is complex and allows for contradictory interpretations. This contrasts with the way that fascist ideology impresses one single idea of the image on the masses. Walter Benjamin writes about there being a kind of transmission which is itself catastrophic, and that is the transmission that impresses the single meaning on a work of art or image. He was referring specifically to the Nazi's totalitarian world view, but it could equally well apply to the more subtle view of history impressed upon us by the mass media of social and political catastrophe endlessly piling up one after the other. Palestinian terrorism is contrasted was Israeli domination - but does this mean that we are to assume catastrophe just goes on, catastrophes piling up one after the other?

'The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the 'state of emergency' in which we live is not the exception but the rule. We must attain to a conception of history that is in keeping with this insight. Then we shall clearly recognise that it is our task to bring about a real state of emergency, and this will improve our position in our struggle against fascism. It has a chance because in the name of progress its opponents treat it as a historical norm. The current amazement that the things we are still experiencing are 'still' possible in the 20th Century is not philosophical. This amazement is not the beginning of knowledge - unless it is the knowledge that the view of history which gives rise to it is untenable.' (16)

The viewer is presented with a series of catastrophic historical events which constitute an ongoing state of emergency which are endlessly portrayed through the mass media as outside our control. By presenting these photographs in a different way in the gallery, Metzger leaves the viewer excluded and frustrated, forced to perform a mimicry of events, pushed to think differently about these events.

Metzger writes that one of the reasons he obscured the photographs is that 'When confronted with nothing it is difficult to find one's bearings. This is the state in which I seek to place the viewer.'(17) Instead of allowing viewers to be passive consumers of objects of misery, Metzger forces them to produce their own meaning.

To conclude this section with the photograph of Twyford Down taken in 1998 as the last historic photograph of the 20th Century is to lay down a challenge to the idea that the mass media makes morons of us, by its excessive overload of ongoing catastrophe that dulls our moral outrage at the injustices of the world. After 20 years of futile protesting through legal channels at the extension of the M3 motorway through Twyford Down, protestors engaged in a direct action campaign which was spectacularly committed. Protestors threw themselves down in front of trucks and endured the heavy-handed tactics of the security men deployed at the site by the local government. 5,000 protestors took part in an illegal occupation of the motorway and Twyford Down was the first major direct action against road-building, inspiring many subsequent campaigns that have challenged the destruction of the environment and communities to make way for capitalist expansion.

The massive caterpillar tracks that the image is mounted on are a threatening presence, the wheels of environmental destruction and of 20th century warfare and a crude physical reminder of the body's vulnerability in the face of the state's crushing machinery.

The Historic Photographs allow for many strands of the debates about history and the role of photography in the transmission and construction of history to come together. Photography in the mass media is deeply implicated in the course of history, and instrumental in how we understand our own role in world catastrophic events. Whilst appearing to bring people together through the reduction of distance, the technical media in fact serve to install a distance of increasing objectification and saturation. In this way our humanity is violated by a view of history as endless catastrophe which serves to generate indifference.

Metzger wants us to feel oppressed, pushed and manipulated both psychologically and physically in his installations, to be forced to perform hollow mimicries of the century's catastrophes with our body, to be crawling on our knees, to imagine being shut behind the wooden planks of the cattle truck.These acts run the risk of being an affront to the actual suffering of the real victims of history, becoming merely a playful performance in a bourgeois 'box of deceit' (18) as Metzger has described art galleries. If we are privileged not to feel the fear of the illegal, the marginalized, those who are discriminated against by the fact that we live under liberal democracy, that catastrophe is always elsewhere, perhaps the awareness of that luxury of being able to enjoy the frisson of the other's oppression, might be another weapon in Metzger's arsenal , to make the comfortable uncomfortable about their relative comfort in a world in a permanent state of emergency .


Gustav Metzger quoted in John A Walker, 'Message from the Margin, John A Walker tracks down Gustav Metzger', Art Monthly, no. 190, October 1995, p.15.



Gustav Metzger quoted in Wilson, A, 'Papa what did you do when the nazis built the concentration camps? My dear they never told us anything', Gustav Metzger, Damaged Nature, Auto-Destructive Art, Coracle @ workfortheeyetodo, London, 1996, p73.



Gustav Metzger, 'Auto-Destructive Art' (1959), in Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: a sourcebook of artists' writings, Stiles, K. and Selz, P. (eds), University of California Press, Berkley, LA, London, 1996, p. 402.



Stiles, K, 'Uncorrupted Joy: International Art Actions', in Out of Actions, between Performance and the Object 1949-1979', Schimmel, P. (ed.),MOCA, Los Angeles, 1998, p.272.



Metzger, G., Untitled Statement, Art into Society, Society into Art: Seven German Artists, ICA, London, 1974 (catalogue), p.79.



Gustav Metzger quoted in John A Walker, 'Message from the Margin, John A Walker tracks down Gustav Metzger', Art Monthly, no 190, October 1995, p.15.



Andrew Wilson discusses the work of Metzger in terms of its relationship to Adorno's Negative Dialectics in his essay 'Gustav Metzger: A Thinking against Thinking.' in Gustav Metzger: Retrospectives. Museum of Modern Art Papers Vol 3, Cole, I, (ed), MOMA, Oxford, 1999, p.73.



Brougher, K., 'A World on the Edge of Destruction: Setting the Stage for Gustav Metzger', Gustav Metzger, MOMA, 1998, p.11.



Riefenstahl, L., 'Hinter den Kulissen des Reichs-Parteitag-Films', quoted in Virilio, P, War and Cinema: The Logistics of Perception, trans. Patrick Camiller, New York, Verso, 1989, p.55.



Jünger, E., 'Uber den Schmerz', quoted in Cadava, E., Words of Light: Theses on the Photography of History, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1997, p.xxii.



Metzger, G., 'Nature Demised Resurrects as Environment', in Gustav Metzger, Damaged Nature, Auto-Destructive Art, Coracle @ workfortheeyetodo, London, 1996, p19.



Benjamin, W, 'The Author as Producer.', Art in Theory 1900-1990, Harrison, C. and Wood, P. (ed.s), Blackwell, Oxford, 1992, p.487.



Benjamin, W, 'Gesammelte Schriften', Tiedemann, R. and Schweppenhauser, H. (ed.s), Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 1972, vol. 5, p.586, quoted in Cadava, E., Words of Light: Theses on the Photography of History, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1997, p.xxiii.



Cumings, B., War and Television, Verso, London, 1992, p.103.



Metzger, G., Artist's Statement in Life/Live. La scene artistique au Royaume-Uni en 1996 de nouvelles aventures, Paris-Musees, Editions des Musees de la Ville de Paris, 1996 (catalogue), p.107.



Benjamin, W., 'Theses on the Philosophy of History '(VIII), in Illuminations:Essays and Reflections/Walter Benjamin, Arendt, H. (ed.), trans. Zohn, H., Jonathan Cape, London, 1970, p. 259



Gustav Metzger quoted in 'A Terrible Beauty', Interview with Andrew Wilson, Art Monthly, no. 222, December 1998, p.7.



Gustav Metzger, 'Manifesto World' (1962) in Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art, Stiles, K., and Selz, P. (ed.s), University of California Press, Berkley, LA, London, 1996, p 403.


View slide show
select individual images
Cardboards exhibition 1959
Cardboards exhibition 1959
8 Historic Photographs: 1996
8 Historic Photographs: 1996
The Ramp at Auschwitz 1998
The Ramp at Auschwitz 1998
4 Historic Photographs: 1995
4 Historic Photographs: 1995
5 Historic Photographs: 1995
6 Historic Photographs: 1997/98
6 Historic Photographs: 1997/98
7 Historic Photographs:
7 Historic Photographs:
8 Historic Photographs: 1990
8 Historic Photographs: 1990
9 Historic Photographs: 1995
9 Historic Photographs: 1995
10 Historic Photographs: 1998
10 Historic Photographs: 1998
11 Historic Photographs: 1998
11 Historic Photographs: 1998
11 Historic Photographs: 1998
11 Historic Photographs: 1998
13 Historic Photographs: 1998
13 Historic Photographs: 1998