Viewing Room

Hermann Nitsch


The Orgies Mysteries Theatre

Considered a key figure in Viennese Action Painting of the 1960s, Hermann Nitsch continues to use this radical method of painting, essentially through his creation of the Orgien Mysterien Theater, a concept of ceremonial performance art comparable to Wagner's Gesamtkunstwerk (total art work). This total art form calls to all five human senses and advocates for a profound existentialist reflection. Hermann Nitsch creates his paintings using his entire body. Therefore, they are simultaneously the origin and the result of his performances. Combining oil and acrylic paint of a certain hue, he spreads it on canvas using unconventional tools as well as his hands, feet and whole body movements. Through these actions, Nitsch demonstrates his energetic, spiritual, sensual and passionate persona. Chaos and violence, which accompany his work, are in fact a celebration of life and mirror the human soul.
Hermann Nitsch, Rov_14_12, 2012
acrylic on canvas, 200 x 300 cm (78.7 x 118.1 in)
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Nitsch’s canvases capture the essence of his performative spirit and his undying fascination for the corporeal. He said: ‘Red is the colour that most intensively arouses attention because it is simultaneously the colour of both life and death.’
Installation view, Hermann Nitsch, The Orgies Mysteries Theatre, Opera Gallery ©
Hermann Nitsch, SF_08_19, 2019
acrylic on canvas, 150 x 100 cm (59.1 x 39.4 in)
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"I’m not so interested in the symbolism of color, but I do like the intensity of pure color."
Hermann Nitsch
Nitsch's abstract 'splatter' paintings, like his performance pieces, are inspired by his neutral perspective on humanity and being human.
Hermann Nitsch, HF_26_18, 2018
acrylic on canvas, 200 x 150 cm (78.7 x 59.1 in)
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Hermann Nitsch, K_04_20, 2020
acrylic on canvas, 100 x 80 cm (39.4 x 31.5 in)
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Nitsch’s expressive use of paint transforms a blank page into a performative action: each canvas captures and reveals an individual and spontaneous instance.
"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] always is important to show life and to celebrate life."
Hermann Nitsch
Hermann Nitsch, K_05_20, 2020
acrylic on canvas, 100 x 80 cm (39.4 x 31.5 in)
Available
Born in Vienna, Austria in 1938, Hermann Nitsch studied graphics at the Institute of Graphic Arts in his hometown. As a painter, performer, composer photographer and scenographer, he is one of the most influential artists of his generation. He currently lives and works at the Prinzendorf castle in Austria.
His artworks are permanently exhibited in the two Nitsch Museums located in Mistelbach, Austria and Naples, Italy as well as in the Nitsch Foundation in Vienna. His paintings are displayed in many major art galleries and museums inthe world and are included in the permanent collections of the MOMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum, New York, in the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, in the Tate Gallery, London and in the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam as well as in the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, just to name a few.
Installation view, Hermann Nitsch, The Orgies Mysteries Theatre, Opera Gallery ©
Hermann Nitsch, HF_05_20, 2020
acrylic on canvas, 200 x 150 cm (78.7 x 59.1 in)
Available
Nitsch’s paintings focus on the physical handling of color, the expressive gesture, the actionist application of paint, and the bodily acting out.  
"Art is celebration of being. Art is a special kind of life. What kind of life is making lukewarm art? I will not make lukewarm art. I want to make anything art. I want to make art, which is so important—like the stars, the sun systems. I want to make art, which is so important, like being."
Hermann Nitsch
Hermann Nitsch, HF_35_19, 2019
acrylic on canvas, 200 x 150 cm (59.1 x 78.7 in)
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Hermann Nitsch, HF_32_19, 2019
acrylic on canvas, 200 x 150 cm (59.1 x 78.7 in)
Sold