Hermann Nitsch

88. malaktion

The Nitsch Foundation

Hermann Nitsch, action painting, 2021, acrylic paint on canvas, 78 3/4 × 118 1/8″.

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The Nitsch Foundation is the official representative of Hermann Nitsch and supports activities which foster the exploration and presentation of the artist and his Gesamtkunstwerk (total artwork), the “Orgies Mysteries Theater”.

With the current exhibition “88. malaktion” the Nitsch Foundation is showing brand new action paintings from the artist’s latest painting action (88th). The vibrant artworks were created this spring in preparation for the painting assistants who will accompany Hermann Nitsch at this year’s Bayreuth Festival in Germany. Inspired by the colorful, broadly expansive music of Richard Wagner, Hermann Nitsch demonstrates both his lyrical and radical approach to “color as substance.”

“After the second world war a type of painting arose that did not want to represent anything, did not want to reproduce anything that already existed in nature, but rather what is concretely played out on the surface itself, the visual fabric, which itself or its impact are shown. Paint was not understood in terms of its color tones but as a concrete substance, as paste or fluid that was smeared or splattered, giving rise to works determined by the gestures and motoric of arm and hand movements, it was scrawled, smeared, substances, fluids, colors were sprayed, hurled, poured etc. onto canvas.

The viewability of a performance was a key point, because many painters produced their works in an actually felt state of (sensory) stimulation and self-divestment. The viewer can grasp the creation process formally. That concrete processes and their impact prompt an intensive sensory feeling by both producers and viewers, whereby a new effect is employed, realizable for the form, which is exerted by many objects and processes. this means a specific part of the spectrum of sensory experience is activated, it is extroverted. an elementary sensory feeling serves art.”

–Hermann Nitsch


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