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Gustav Metzger: Earth Minus Environment

Kestle Barton 25.6.22 – 4.9.22









Images top to bottom: Mobbile (1970/2022) in Falmouth x2, St Ives, Penzance and Kestle Barton; Mass Media: Yesterday and Today (1971/2022); Strampelnde Bäum/Flailing Tree (2010/2022).




Gustav Metzger (1926–2017) was a visionary artist, radical thinker, and political activist, whose work and activism spanned over 65 years. Born to Jewish parents in Nuremberg, Germany in 1926, Metzger and his brother came to England on the Kindertransport as a refugees, yet tragically lost their parents and most of their extended family in the Holocaust. At the heart of his thinking and art was a tension between the opposing yet interdependent forces of destruction and creation, which Metzger mobilised to expose the destructive systems and ideologies of the modern world.

Throughout his life, Metzger was heavily involved in anti-capitalist, anti-nuclear and anti-consumerist movements. In his work he strove to bring together revolutionary content with radical form. Metzger was deeply interested in science and new technologies such as computing as destructive tools that could be misused to exploit and damage the earth and natural systems, but also as potentially revolutionary forces to enact a more democratic, peaceful society.

An enduring theme in Metzger’s work is the protection of nature and the prevention of the extinction of species. In 2015, Metzger initiated an ongoing project called Remember Nature, where he urged arts professionals and students around the world to participate in a ‘Day of Action’ every year on 4th November to do just that.

In the face of climate breakdown, biodiversity loss, war and persecution across the world, Metzger’s art and ethics are evermore urgent.

This exhibition was supported by the Gustav Metzger Foundation and co-curated by Ula Dajerling and Leanne Dmyterko, Co-Directors, along with Dr. Lizzie Fisher of Northumbria University, and Lauren Keeley.