Overview

I want only to show what is. I never was interested to make provocation. I want to show intensity. And let’s say, maybe in intensity is a kind of provocation, but for me it is always is important to show life and to celebrate life.

As one of the founders of the Wiener Aktionismus (Viennese Actionism) movement, Hermann Nitsch is known today internationally for his Schüttbilder (a variant of dripping developed by the Actionists) and for the organisation of actions inspired by the happenings and performances of Fluxus.

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Biography

The question of the development of art is also a question of society. In Vienna, it was very conservative. We wanted to make a new art—new expressions of art—in an art world that was, for us, traditional. Abstract expressionism was happening, a new form of art that was very important for us. I would say that’s what moved us together.

Considered a key figure in Viennese Actionism of the 1960s, the late Hermann Nitsch’s radical method of painting is encompassed through his creation of the Orgien Mysterien Theatre, a concept of ceremonial performance art comparable to Wagner’s ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ (total art work). This total art form calls to all five human senses, advocating a profound existentialist reflection.
 
Nitsch created paintings using his entire body––they are simultaneously the origin and the result of his performances. With oil or acrylic paint, Nitsch applies the medium to his canvases using unconventional tools as well as his hands, feet, and body movements. Nitsch exemplifies his energetic, spiritual, sensual and passionate persona through these actions. His work's embedded chaos and violence reflect a celebration of life and mirror the human soul.
 
His works are exhibited in the two Nitsch Museums in Mistelbach and Naples, as well as at the Nitsch Foundation in Vienna. His work can be found in the permanent collections of international institutions including the MoMA, Guggenheim, The Metropolitan Museum, New York, Tate Gallery London, The Centre Pompidou Paris, and Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich.
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