seeing, smelling & squeezing

The exhibition series “NITSCH a homage by …” presents works by inspiring figures and former companions as well as by artists whose development was decisively influenced by Hermann Nitsch and his total work of art.

Parallels and overlapping aspects in their works bring to light new relationships and interconnections between the respective artistic processes. Each exhibition focuses on an individual and personal facet that will enable visitors to learn more about Nitsch’s oeuvre and appreciate its ongoing influence.


Paul Renner

seeing, smelling & squeezing

“For years I’ve been interested in painting that aims to create an intensive sensual experience. Form focuses perception on the materials represented. The mediums of the composition are food, plants, juices, and seeds, which are mixed with resin, wax, and paint. An herbarium emerges that dispenses with logic and scientific stringency as we understand it today.” – Paul Renner

Paul Renner’s idea of art demands a form of staging that goes beyond painting a picture. The act and resultant form of compressing has preoccupied Renner from the outset – pressed must, mashed cabbage, slabs of bacon squashed between stone slabs, berries boiled into mush, centrifuged honey, squashed fruits squidging out between fingers and toes, meat pounded, smoked, pressed. In Renner’s vision, this compressing and compacting involves the decomposition of our existence: “Existence is squashed, crushed, solidified, fermented, and decomposes into an invisible vapor. The sparkling elderberry wine explodes in the cellar. The mycelium fungus crawls up the walls. I imagine that I’m on the other side. Existence is permanent decomposing.”

Specially for this exhibition Renner is showing his new cycle “looking, smelling & squeezing”. Taking center stage is the monumental painting “the honey wall” – composed of damar resin covered in goldleaf, inserted with molded nests out of branches and twigs, honeycombs, seeds, fruits, rinds, juices, and plants.


Born in Bregenz in 1957, Paul Renner met Hermann Nitsch in 1976, for whom he then worked as an assistant until 1984. For years Paul Renner has explored profound solutions wherein painting is no longer the sole medium of the creative idea. In cycles devoted to specific themes he combines painting, literature, philosophy, nature, and the culinary.

He has presented projects in esteemed institutions like the Kunsthaus Bregenz, the Kunsthalle Vienna, the Houston Contemporary Arts Museum, the  Contemporary Arts Institut Omaha, as well as the Leo Koenig Gallery (New York), the Galerie Konzett (Vienna), Imago Dei Festival (Krems) and Fondazione Morra in Naples. He lives and works in Austria and Italy.

the concept of form, as i understand it, is only comprehensible and useful in tandem with a new way of thinking about art. form is a principle of compression arising from our organic disposition, from our ability to see, to listen, to taste, to smell, to touch, to perceive and incorporate. we’ve been endowed with an additional creative ability, we can compress, shorten perceptual modes, enhance them into an essential percipience.” – Hermann Nitsch, DAS SEIN. zur theorie des orgien mysterien theaters (vol. 2, 394).

February 17 — April 13, 2023

Nitsch Foundation
Hegelgasse 5
1010 Vienna

Tuesday to Friday 11am — 6pm
Eintritt frei