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Hermann Nitsch: Die Aktionen, 1962-2003

A retrospective exhibition featuring documentary videos of the artist's provocative performances

Values


Fields of Knowledge
  • Aesthetics / Media
  • Artistic legacies
  • Curatorial practice
  • Performance
  • Public culture

Organizing Institutions

Slought

Organizers

Osvaldo Romberg

Acknowledgments

Heike Curtze Gallery, Mike Weiss Gallery

Opens to public

02/19/2005

Time

6:30pm

Address

Slought
4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19148

Economy

25% Formal - 75% Informal

Slought Foundation presents Hermann Nitsch / Die Aktionen: 1962-2003, a retrospective exhibition of pioneering Viennese Actionist Hermann Nitsch, curated by Osvaldo Romberg, featuring documentary videos of his performances since 1962. Hermann Nitsch will be joining us from Vienna especially for the opening. Nitsch is known for his ritualistic actions, often combining fake crucifixion with the disemboweling of lambs and other animals. In the late 50s Hermann Nitsch developed the concept of the "Orgien Mysterien Theater" (Theatre of Orgies and Mysteries) a total work of art appealing to all senses, celebratory and life-affirming.

Lorand Hegyi, director of Le Musée d'Art Moderne de Saint-Etienne, will give an introductory talk on the work of Hermann Nitsch at the exhibition opening on Saturday, February 19th at 6:30pm.

Please also join us on Thursday, March 3, 2005 from 6:30-8:00pm for a public conversation with Hal Foster and Brigid Doherty of Princeton University as they discuss body and performance in contemporary art and the work of pioneering Viennese Actionist Hermann Nitsch.

read more

Hermann Nitsch (born 1938) is an Austrian performance artist and a forerunner of Wiener Aktionismus (Viennese Actionism, or Performance art). Nitsch is known for his ritualistic performance actions, often combining fake crucifixion with the disemboweling of lambs and other animals. In the late 50s Hermann Nitsch developed the concept of the "Orgien Mysterien Theater" (Theatre of Orgies and Mysteries) a total work of art appealing to all senses, celebratory and life-affirming. Drawing on religion, philosophy and psychology, he has composed numerous theoretical writings, compositions and scores to accompany over 100 realized action performances between the years of 1962 and 1998. In 1998, Nitsch staged his 100th performance (named the 6-Day Play after its length) which took place at Schloss Prinzendorf, his castle in Austria.

In the late 50s Hermann Nitsch developed the concept of the "Orgien Mysterien Theater" (Theatre of Orgies and Mysteries) a total work of art appealing to all senses, celebratory and life-affirming. Nitsch describes his Theatre: "...with regard to both the tragic aspect of suffering and instants of extreme ecstasy and affirmation of life, art needs to have a sense of sacred solemnity. [...] We propagated a very aggressive type of art, not a cozy art but an art that displayed tremendous power and intensity."

Read an essay by curator Osvaldo Romberg on Hermann Nitsch's exhibition.

Read an interview with Hermann Nitsch and Karlheinz Essl.

"A psychoanalytically-oriented dramaturgy allows the Dionysian to burst forth from within us. Suppressed areas of inner impulses are made visible. The actions with flesh, blood and slaughtered animals plumb the collective areas of our unconscious minds. The paramount aim and purpose of the festival is a profound affirmation of our existence, our life and our creation. The mysticism of being leads to a permanent festival of life. [...] All are invited to drink. A mass intoxication is imperative, an all-embracing intoxication of the participants is ordained, unrestrained drinking takes place, day and night, in vineyards and cellars. Slaughter of a pig. GRAPES, FRUIT and TOMATOES, ANIMAL LUNGS, FLESH and INTESTINES are trampled on in ecstasy. People trample in SLAUGHTERED ANIMAL CARCASSES FILLED WITH INTESTINES, in troughs full of blood and wine. Extreme noise from the orchestras. Slaughtering of the bull, slaughtering of two pigs. Disembowelment."

  • Hermann Nitsch, Das Orgien Mysterien Theater

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Viennese Actionist Hermann Nitsch revists his Orgien Mysterien Theater (1962-) and other ritualistic performances since 1962, alongside scholarly commentary by Lorand Hegyi and others.

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