Auto-destructive art is a term invented by the artist Gustav Metzger in the early 1960s to describe radical artworks made by himself and others, in which destruction was part of the process of creating the work.

The Manifestos

Metzger released two manifesto’s clarifying the term. The key principles are as follows:

Time – The work must, within the course of 20 years, return to its original state of nothingness.

Self-completion – Metzger emphasised the importance of the process continuing once the artist sets it off, avoiding any sense of ownership over the development of the piece.

Participation – This movement is centred around public participation. Although the artist can set off the process, it must happen in a public space. It is not to be consumed privately for a select group.

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