Gustav Metzger: LIFT OFF!
24 May – 31 August 2014
When I was young I wanted art that would lift off – that would levitate, gyrate, bring together different – perhaps contradictory aspects of my being.
Visitors to Lift Off! were submersed in Gustav Metzger’s world of creative experimentation and activism between the late 1950s and early 1970s. Bringing together archive, film, sculpture and installations, this ambitious exhibition focused on Metzger’s auto-creative work – the alter ego of his better-known auto-destructive practice.
The exhibition included Metzger’s landmark piece Liquid Crystal Environment (1965 remade 2005) on loan from Tate. This hypnotic environment was composed of projections that create constantly shifting psychedelic patterns. The exhibition also showcased works that use air, water and heat that Metzger first made in a university laboratory in Swansea in 1969 and which had not been seen since.
The show highlighted Metzger’s close connections with the city of Cambridge. Born in Nuremburg in 1926, Metzger came to Britain as a refugee in 1939. He began his education as a student at Cambridge School of Art in the 1940s and lived in East Anglia throughout much of the 1950s. Two of his most significant lecture demonstrations, in which Metzger presented his ideas around auto-creation and auto-destruction, were staged at Cambridge University in 1960 and 1965.
Gustav Metzger: Lift Off! was curated by Elizabeth Fisher in collaboration with Gustav Metzger and Kettle’s Yard.