Hermann Nitsch


MARe/Museum of Recent Art Bucharest continues its program of solo shows dedicated to prominent international artists who innovated the way art today is made, shown, and understood.

After the successful exhibitions started in 2018 with Jeff Wall, MEN, followed in 2019 by Martin Creed, Thinking/Not Thinking, Thomas Ruff, Photophilia, and Marcia Hafif, Pigment as Shape, in 2020 MARe has shown Gregor Schneider, with Dead Rooms and Tino Sehgal, with Untitled Exchange.

Starting from 25th September, a selection of 19 paintings and a series of videos documenting the historical performances of legendary Austrian artist Hermann Nitsch will be on display at MARe. Hermann Nitsch (1938) is grounder and major figure of the neo-avant-garde group Wiener Aktionismus, which re-shaped artistic practice in post-war period into an extreme experience. They performed painful acts in thrilling sceneries, fusing together religiously-derived rituals, political targets, artistic provocation and heavily physical, social participation, which rapidly turned influential worldwide. The disputed Orgien Mysterien Theater launched by Hermann Nitsch in the 1950s is an epitome of Wiener Aktionismus: its dystopic social bondage centered on overwhelming blood-spilling sacrifices and the ensuing, paroxysmal human cohesion is one of the most radical landmarks of contemporary art.

Yet Hermann Nitsch always painted through his performances, using animal bowels and splattering blood instead of color, and brushing, bruising and butchering hands instead of pinsels. His paintings range from sparse, frightening red stains and patches evoking slaughters, to richly textured, thick layers of heavy-handed colored matter suggestive of gaping intestines on canvas. The time-span covered by the exhibition introduces it as a compact retrospective, starting with the iconic blood and wax works of the early 70s, such as Die Sinnlichkeit ist die Offenbarung (The Sensuousness is the Revelation, 1974), accompanied by the extensive video documentation of crucial performances, to the ongoing series of Schüttbilder (action paintings), with some striking, large works from 2007 up until 2020, an extremely fruitful year for Hermann Nitsch.

The centerpiece of his Gesamtkunstwerk, the 6-Days-Play, will be performed again from July 26th to August 1st 2021. More than 20 years after it was first realized in 1998.

The exhibition Hermann Nitsch Ritualuri/Rituals at MARe/Museum of Recent Art Bucharest is organized in collaboration with Nitsch Foundation and is supported by the Austrian Cultural Forum Bucharest.

September 25 — December 6, 2020

MARe Museum
Bulevardul Primăverii 15
011971 Bucharest