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Gustav Metzger: LIFT OFF! 24 May - 31 August 2014 Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge

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press notice

When I was young I wanted art that would lift off – that would levitate, gyrate, bring together different – perhaps contradictory aspects of my being. Gustav Metzger Visitors to LIFT OFF! will be submersed in Gustav Metzger’s world of creative experimentation and activism between the late 1950s and early 1970s. Metzger’s writings, demonstrations and art works pioneered closer connections between the visual arts, science and technology, and greater understanding of the social and cultural role of science, which remain relevant today. Bringing together archive, film, sculpture and installations, this ambitious exhibition focuses on a less familiar but central area of Metzger’s practice – his auto-creative process driven work – the alter ego of his better-known auto-destructive practice. The exhibition includes Metzger’s landmark piece Liquid Crystal Environment (1965 remade 2005) on loan from Tate. This hypnotic environment is composed of projections that create constantly shifting psychedelic patterns. The exhibition will also showcase seminal works that Metzger first made during a three-week long exhibition in a university laboratory in Swansea in 1969, which, due to their experimental nature, have not been seen since. The artist has creatively revisited these exciting works using air, water and heat and has made variations, including new work, for the exhibition. The show highlights 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 autocreation and auto-destruction, were staged at Cambridge University in 1960 and 1965. The latter, organised by the Society of Arts and entitled The Chemical Revolution in Art, was a formative event in his career; Metzger first experimented here with his projections of liquid crystals that were later refined in his Liquid Crystal Environments. LIFT OFF! is an exhibition devoted to Metzger’s auto-creative art, and offers fresh insight into his long interest in science and the expansion of sculpture beyond its traditional boundaries. The exhibition will include a new film of Metzger in conversation with curator Elizabeth Fisher, reflecting on this aspect of his practice. The exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue and a wider programme of lectures and events. There will be a one-day conference in Cambridge that explores the relationships between art, science and technology then and now. Gustav Metzger: Lift Off! is curated by Elizabeth Fisher in collaboration with Gustav Metzger and Kettle’s Yard. PTO For further information and images please contact Susie Biller or Freya Jewitt at Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge, Castle Street, Cambridge CB3 0AQ U.K. tel 01223 748100 • fax 01223 324377 • •

NOTES FOR EDITORS ONE-DAY SYMPOSIUM WHITE HEAT: art, science and social responsibility in 1960s Britain 26 July, conference fee £20 (conc. £15) includes refreshments, Department of Engineering, Trumpington Street, Cambridge A one-day conference exploring the relationships between art, science and society in the 1960s. 50 years on, key figures from this period will join speakers from the fields of art and cultural history, the history and philosophy of science, contemporary art, science, activism and popular culture to revisit one of the most intense periods of intellectual and cultural ferment. See: GUSTAV METZGER in Conversation: Music and Art in the 1960s 26 July, 5-7pm, £8 (conc. £5) or free if attending the conference above Gustav Metzger: LIFT OFF! LECTURES GUSTAV METZGER’S WRITINGS Mathieu Copeland, curator and writer 5 June, 8-9pm, £8 / £6 Friends of Kettle’s Yard with special opening of the gallery and shop before the talk from 7-8pm AUTOMATA IN HISTORY: the Kinetic Arts of the Enlightenment Simon Schaffer, Professor of History of Science, University of Cambridge 3 July, 7-8pm, £8 / £6 Friends of Kettle’s yard with special opening of the gallery and shop before the talk from 6-7pm

KETTLE’S YARD Opened in 1957 Kettle’s Yard is a remarkable house and collection with a programme of modern and contemporary art exhibitions, educational activities and music. Kettle’s Yard is part of the University of Cambridge. Please see and

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