Hermann Nitsch

the 6-day-play

On 25 March 2023, the nitsch museum in Mistelbach launched its annual exhibition “Hermann Nitsch – The 6-Day Play“. This exhibition, which is organised in cooperation with the Albertina Wien, will focus for the first time since the artist’s death on the centrepiece of the artist’s Gesamtkunstwerk or total work of art.

Hermann Nitsch was one of the founders of Viennese Actionism and one of the most prominent representatives of this art movement. His Opus magnum, the Orgies Mysteries Theatre, is a new form of Gesamtkunstwerk. The artist revolutionised the twentieth century’s concept of theatre with this completely new theatre construct. The 6-Day Play is the centrepiece of Hermann Nitsch’s total art work, the Orgies Mysteries Theatre.

The idea behind it was born in 1957 and led to the realisation of 160 Actions. The artist dedicated his entire life and work to the Orgies Mysteries Theatre, the highlights of which are the two 6-Day Plays performed in 1998 and 2022. All the Actions and works, which he created in different disciplines, ultimately led to the project of the 6-Day Play, and Hermann Nitsch continued working on it until the end of his life. The traditional stage is abandoned in these Actions, real happenings are staged and the audience is actively integrated into the performance as participants. The aim is to address the participants’ senses as intensively and as directly as possible. The flesh of reality becomes tangible. This form of synaesthetic experience should lead the play participants to catharsis.

“the 6-day play of the o.m. theatre aims to be the greatest and most important celebration of man (it is an aesthetic ritual glorifying existence). it is at once a folk festival and a mysterium of existence that is brought to consciousness.” (hermann nitsch)

In 1998 the 6-Day Play of the Orgies Mysteries Theatre was performed for the first time at Schloss Prinzendorf and sparked considerable protests as well as bomb threats and political resistance. Henceforth Hermann Nitsch worked tirelessly on a second version which he finalised shortly before his death in 2022. In this second version, he placed a particular focus on the music as the leitmotif for the Action. The first two days of the second version of the 6-Day Play were performed post mortem on 30 and 31 July 2022 in Schloss Prinzendorf. The second version will be continued in 2023 and will be accompanied by this museum exhibition.

The exhibition in the nitsch museum shows blocks of work from the Action’s first realisation in 1998 and the partial realisation of the second version in 2022. Exhibits include key relic installations, splatter paintings from the painting Actions, the two Action scores, selected photographs of the Actions, film documentaries, applications and props. Visitors can look forward to a monumental space installation dedicated to this festival of all the senses.

“the feast fosters a consciousness that leads to the depths, to embracing our tragic reality. the world as a whole is to be accepted with all its extremes, its possibilities of happiness, of atrocities and the cruelty of death.” (hermann nitsch)

In cooperation with the Albertina Wien

March 25 — November 26, 2023

nitsch museum
Waldstraße 44-46
2130 Mistelbach