The exhibition “Hermann Nitsch | Bayreuth: Postlude” presents the artist’s last series, produced during the 2021 Bayreuth Festival and some drippings of the following December. Featuring more than thirteen large-scale works taking up the entire gallery space, the exhibition is an opportunity to discover or rediscover Hermann Nitsch’s powerful expressiveness.
Hermann Nitsch is an heir to the aesthetic concept of Gesamtkunstwerk, which translates as “total work of art” and emerged from German Romanticism in the 19th century. This concept is based on the simultaneous use of numerous artistic disciplines and media. During his Aktions, Nitsch operated like an orchestra conductor. From the music he composed to the performers, he guided the performance through to its conclusion. The first creator of a total work of art was none other than Richard Wagner (1813-1883), who was also behind the Bayreuth Festival (founded in 1876). This common thread between Nitsch and Wagner motivated the Bayreuth Festival to invite the Austrian artist to perform.
“Wagner has fascinated me all my life. because of this wonderful, indulgent, sensual music, which makes the sound blossom beyond the melody. even in its earliest forms of performance, art was connected with cult, religion and the gesamtkunstwerk. and wagner is the uncoverer of the gesamtkunstwerk. he made it shine.” Hermann Nitsch
The Valkyrie is the second of Richard Wagner’s four operatic dramas, The Ring of Nibelung. At the Bayreuth Festival, Hermann Nitsch based his total work of art on this three-act composition. All three acts of the Valkyrie are accompanied by an autonomous painting action, during which the musical score is metamorphosed scene by scene into a kaleidoscope of brilliant colors. This artistic transformation requires the generous use of up to 1,000 liters of paint per performance. These colors used by Nitsch are a catharsis for the spectator.
“The painting processes are meant to be like music. sounds become colors and wagner’s score lures me into choosing my colors” Hermann Nitsch
This exhibition will be open until November 25, 2023.