Hailed by many as the Pope of Viennese ‘Aktionism’, Hermann Nitsch, together with Günter Brus, Otto Mühl, and Rudolf Schwartzkogler, reformed the face of sixties art, shunning the illusionary confines of traditional painting and sculpture, reinventing an art that exists in real, corporeal, and violent terms.
Hermann Nitsch was celebrated and reviled in equal measure as he took the semblance of a pagan ceremony and incorporated robed processions, symbolic crucifixion, drunken excess, nudity, animal sacrifice, the drinking of blood, and the ritualistic incorporation of viscera and entrails. Even today, his audiences aren’t mere visitors, but active participants in his artistic liturgies.
Hermann Nitsch’s work draws parallels between religion and the ritualistic spiritualism of creativity. Heavily entrenched in ancient philosophy and a dissident, questioning Christian theology, he actively seeks catharsis through pain and compassion, a rigorously disciplined quest for ethereal release and enlightenment through an embracing of primal instinct and ancient sacrament.