With “Hermann Nitsch. the 6-day play”, the Nitsch Foundation is staging an exhibition that returns to the grandiose action performance of the orgies mysteries theater in 1998 and shows fragments and works created as part of this important event.
In the 6-day-play Nitsch was able to realize his idea of a synaesthetic theatre which, inspired by the story of creation, addressed all five senses. By accumulatively interconnecting various aspects of visual art, action performance and spherical music, Nitsch’s artistic practice came to its logical culmination in the total work of art.
On show at the Nitsch Foundation are sketches, objects, works and documentary photo material, which act as witnesses to the staged play. Crucial in this respect is Nitsch’s intensive exploration of being and the human idea of release. The photos of the procession convey a strong impression of Nitsch’s concept of the ecstatic in practice, while the sketches and ‘rules’ reveal the detail with which the artist formulated his ‘assertions and descriptions’ for the first version of the drama.
The goal of the expansive 6-day-play was to enable “a complex as possible apprehension of being”, an experience the exhibition makes accessible for visitors. Although scarcely comprehensible in its depth and breadth, the visual representations and documentary presentation of this spectacle invites viewers to contemplate on and relate to the mythological and spiritual aspects, initiating an understanding of Nitsch’s ideas on art and its practice. The action painting from 1998 featured in the exhibition gives a tangible impression of how the powerful effect relies on the processual character of its creation. The documentation and the archival objects present key fragments of the artist’s conception of the total work of art.
In summer 2022 an adavanced second version of the 6-day-play will be staged in Prinzendorf castle and its surroundings. It was Nitsch’s cherished wish that his work be continued after his passing. To honour this wish the action performance will go ahead this summer.