May 11, 2019 - The ALBERTINA Museum, Vienna - Hermann Nitsch: NITSCH. Spaces of Color
May 11, 2019

The ALBERTINA Museum, Vienna

Hermann Nitsch, Poured Painting, 2002. The Albertina Museum, Vienna. Batliner Collection © Bildrecht, Vienna, 2019.

Hermann Nitsch
NITSCH. Spaces of Color
May 17–August 11, 2019

Opening: May 16, 6:30–9pm

The ALBERTINA Museum, Vienna
Albertinaplatz 1
1010 Vienna
Hours: Monday–Sunday 10am–6pm,
Wednesday and Friday 10am–9pm

T +43 1 534830
F +43 1 53483199
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For Hermann Nitsch, painting is one among several disciplines of his Orgies Mysteries Theater. It is deeply rooted in actionism, performance, and multimediality. It is the origin of the Actions and, at the same time, their result. With the exhibition NITSCH. Spaces of Color, his paintings are to be viewed exclusively and separately for the first time, not as part of a larger whole, but as paintings in their own right. This style of painting goes far beyond the dimensions of panel painting, conquers the entire wall, and intervenes in the space as an all encompassing installation.

It is a change of perspective, another possible view of Nitsch’s work, with which we give it additional significance and anchor it anew within art history. As visitors to the exhibition, we now experience the same works in an entirely different way and, in this concentration, in all their diversity. The exhibition sheds light on an artist who has consistently developed his painting from the 1960s to the present day and further expanded his own specific approach for each Painting Action, each group of works. The results are now accessible and perceptible at the Albertina Museum as color spaces and poured installations.

Hermann Nitsch sees his work as a Gesamtkunstwerk, as a comprehensive spectacle of the Orgies Mysteries Theater. From his Aktionen (Actions), their photographic and filmic documentation, and the relics of his Actions via painting and his graphic work to the music he composes, his texts, scores, and stage sets, the individual disciplines are brought together to form a cohesive whole. Nitsch’s main objective is to stage real-life events with his work, thereby addressing all the senses and intensifying perception and experience. The goal is, through this delirious state of being, to consolidate humankind’s existence in the world. With his theater, he strives to ecstatically and excessively overcome the boundaries of art, to make art and life become one.

Nitsch’s painting stood at the beginning of the Orgies Mysteries Theater, enabling Nitsch to realize his idea, and with it the basic elements of his theater, initially on the two-dimensional picture plane, before his Actions and Painting Actions expanded to three-dimensional space in front of an audience. Nitsch’s painting focused on the physical handling of color, the expressive gesture, the actionist application of paint, and the bodily acting out.

Nitsch always wanted, and still wants, his painting to achieve and express the same thing as his concurrent (body) Actions, which are conceptually based on the painting process. In his Painting Actions, Nitsch also allows an audience to participate in this process. “i wanted to show how the pouring, spraying, smearing, and splattering of red paint fluid can rouse sensually intensive excitement in the viewer, how it solicits sensually intense perception.” The experience of color with all the senses, the “sensuousness of the substance,” as Nitsch calls it, “passes from the artist and his co-actors to the audience. But even afterward, the process of creation remains visible and tangible, physically traceable, in the pictures.”

Nitsch’s works are characterized by the necessity of bodily experience. His works, especially his paintings, cannot necessarily be grasped according to purely aesthetic criteria. They require that the viewer get involved in the process of creation, either in the Action itself or by contemplating it afterward, and to participate in or comprehend it in its intensity. The concept of the exhibition is to sensitize visitors to the differences in the various approaches and painting processes and to make these spatially perceptible in the exhibition itself.

Director General: Klaus Albrecht Schröder
Curator: Elsy Lahner

The ALBERTINA Museum, Vienna
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