Hermann Nitsch

From September 5 to December 30, 2023, the K&L Museum in South Korea will present the exhibition “Gesamtkunstwerk: Hermann Nitsch” prioritizing paintings created at the Bayreuth Festival in the context of the performances of Richard Wagner’s “Valkyrie” in 2021.

For Nitsch, Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwerk did not simply mean a synthesis of different artistic genres. What he saw in Wagner’s work was a reverence for the metaphysical and transcendent, for God and mythological elements that are a source of deep and rich imagination. Wagner incorporated and transformed these mythological elements into his own musical mastery, constructing his own ideas and philosophy. Wagner’s profoundly existential reflections on the divine, the human, and the supernatural are common to both Wagner and Nitsch.

In his theoretical writings, scores, and compositions, Hermann Nitsch always conveyed ideas aiming towards the Gesamtkunstwerk: He abolished the distinction between stage and audience, created a participatory art that appealed to all five senses, and broke through the concept of 20th-century theater with themes of human existence, spontaneity, intensity, and catharsis.

“i admired wagner as the seeker of the total work of art. he was always my teacher, still today. i adopted the leitmotif technique from him, as did many other artists. in my painting actions on the bayreuth stage, richard wagner is definitely referred to. […] wagner is paid homage to by me through these events, as the great starting point for a possible new art, which rises from the thread of the average. the handling of the colors the spilling, smearing and the solemn running over vertical surfaces runs parallel to the musical event sequence of the valkyrie.” (Hermann Nitsch, 2021)

Through his art Nitsch expresses the essential meaning of life, which in the face of infinite suffering, cruelty on the one hand, and beauty, passion and intensity on the other, lies in transcendence

“every vividly experienced moment in our universe transcends. so-called immanence no longer has an opposite pole. everything transcends. a new philosophy of life presents itself, BEING is experienced.” (Hermann Nitsch, 2021)

With the exhibition “Gesamtkunstwerk” the K&L Museum gives an insight into the artistic work of Hermann in the light of the leading figure Richard Wagner, in  direction towards the total work of art.

September 5 — December 30, 2023

K&L Museum
19 Dwiltgol 2 Ro
13814 Gwacheon / Gyeonggi
South Korea

Wednesday to Monday 10am — 7pm