Hermann Nitsch

The origin of Nitsch's expressive form (Vienna, 1938), playwright, composer, philosopher and visual artist, is complex, but is primarily due to an act of rebellion against the devastating silence that characterized the aftermath of World War II in Austria; almost an exhortation to Nitsch towards his gushing, cathartic explosion of creative vis, in an epic and ostensibly brutal form. To grasp the meaning and intensity of life - Nitsch theorized - one must be aware of the emotional extremes that mark its boundaries: from ecstatic exaltation to feral suffering.

In his art, theater, painting, music, photography, video and performance converge. Nitsch is the principal exponent (with Günter Brus, Otto Mühl and Rudolf Schwarzkogler) of the Wiener Aktionismus, the movement which around the Sixties represents the maximum expressive tension of the European Body Art. Nitsch elaborates on his idea of Das Orgien Mysterien Theater (Theatre of Orgies and Mysteries): an experience of total art linked to Abreaktion's psychoanalytic concept, the emotional discharge that allows a subject to remove the effects of dramatic events. The execution of orgiastic and onanistic acts together with the staging of sacrifical rites (with memories of pagan mysteries and Christian Passion) must allow cathartic liberation from religious, moralistic, and sexual taboos. His “Actions” lead him to forge relations in Germany with Beuys and Vostell and in the United States with Kaprow and the Fluxus group. In 1971 he buys the castle of Prinzendorf, at 50 km. From Vienna, which becomes the seat of its Das Orgien Mysterien Theater.

The works of Hermann Nitsch are included in numerous collections in addition to the MART in Rovereto, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, the New York Guggenheim, the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art and the Tate Modern in London.

In 2007, the Austrian government dedicated the Hermann Nitsch Museum to the artist in Mistelbach, near his residence in Prinzendorf. In 2008 the Museo Hermann Nitsch - Archivio Laboratorio per le Arti Contemporanee, opened in Naples.

In 2020 the Tretyakov Gallery of  Moscow dedicates an entire hall to him, exhibiting three of his large format action paintings.

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