September 19, 2019

Symposium on Gustav Metzger: The Need for Art to Change the World

Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)

Gustav Metzger, 1993.

Gustav Metzger’s (1926–2017) entire oeuvre is defined by his writings. Since 1959, his manifestos have been the cornerstone of his radical and everlasting impact on art, art history and society. Metzger has done more than raise awareness, his art and philosophy are a stark testimony to the alternative world for which he strove. Organised to coincide with the release of the all-encompassing anthology Gustav Metzger: Writings (JRP | Editions, October 2019), this international symposium, initiated by the Department of Art & Media of the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK), brings together seminal critics, curators, scholars and fellow artists to envisage Metzger’s art and philosophy and his imperatives: auto-destructive and auto-creative art, the Destruction in Art Symposium DIAS (London 1966), computer arts, the crisis in technological art, and social responsibility of artists.

Concerned with the looming threat of extinction, Gustav Metzger sought to create “worldwide movements in response to the accelerating decimation of the natural world through human-made activities leading to mass extinction.” To offer a prospective outlook, this symposium aims to provoke, expose and discuss the fundamental Thesis of our societies and the state of our world in a time of climate crisis, set within a specially designed documentation lounge where videos and audio recordings on and by Metzger will be shown, alongside an exhibition of posters by artists Ursula Biemann, Graciela Carnevale, Cécilia Cavalieri, Douglas Coupland, Karl Holmqvist, Swetlana Heger, Franck Leibovici, Liliane Lijn, David Medalla, Ben Morea, Phill Niblock, Ben Vautier, Jacques Villeglé, et al., who each wrote the sentence that gave this symposium its title—The Need for Art to Change the World—which Metzger coined in 1993 and strongly resonates now more than ever.

With contributions by Jonathan Benthall, Mathieu Copeland, Ivor Davies, FM Einheit, Catherine Mason, Hans Ulrich Obrist (by video), Jerome Ravetz (by video), Norman Rosenthal, Kristine Stiles, Andrew Wilson.

Thursday, October 10
5:30–8:30pm: Opening round
10–11:30pm: Concert by eminent experimental sound artist FM Einheit at Mehrspur Music Club

Friday, October 11
3–8:30pm: various contributions

Saturday, October 12
3–8:30pm: various contributions followed by a closing drink

The symposium will be broadcasted live on our youtube channel and will be held in English. The admission is free.

Thank you!

An email with a confirmation link has been sent to the email address you entered. To complete your subscription, click this link.