MARUANI MERCIER Gallery is pleased to present for the first time, a solo exhibition featuring the works of one of the key figures of Viennese Actionism: HERMANN NITSCH.
Created in the context of post-fascist Austria, Hermann Nitsch’s provocative paintings, which developed through his famous ceremonial performances Orgien Mysterien Theatre, sit outside the canon of classical painting. Since the 1960’s, Nitsch’s artistic vocabulary revolves around the constant play of tension between life and death, embodied by the use of red pigment and animal blood.
His physical artistic process, which involves the use of unconventional tools, brushes and sponges, as well as his hands, feet, and whole-body movements, is suffused with a strong ritual charge. Based on rituals, sacrifices, bloods, beliefs, communions, Nitsch’s paintings embody the intensity of his performances from which they originate and result. Questioning the myths of European culture, particularly those linked to the Catholic religion, his performances affirm a strong liturgical character where painting, music and theater are intimately connected, replaying in a symbolic way the mysteries of the origins.
The art of Hermann Nitsch and the Actionist must be understood as an emblematic moment of contemporary art, whose constant exploration for the possibilities of pictorial language and revolutionary dimension frees them from the traditional boundaries of art.
Hermann Nitsch is collected by major public institutions like the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Guggenheim New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver Metropolitan Museum of Art, the MoMA and the Tate Modern in London. Born in 1938, Hermann Nitsch lives and works in Vienna, Austria.