From April 29, Galerie RX, Paris will present Hermann Nitsch’s solo exhibition: “Bayreuth Prelude” – in parallel with his solo exhibition at Galerie RX in New York – both under the artistic direction of Denise Wendel-Poray.
The presentation of the works in the exhibition and the context in which they were created, including the paintings created during the “56 Malaktion”: Cathedral of Colours 2009 – which will influence his work at the Bayreuth Festival – traces the importance of the theatre and in particular the music of Richard Wagner in Hermann Nitsch’s work. In addition to paintings from 2006 and 2007, a set of rare preparatory costume drawings made in 2007 for Robert Schumann’s “Szenen aus Goethes Faust” at the Zurich Opera House will be on view for the first time.
The work of Richard Wagner and his Bayreuth Festival founded in 1876 are of major importance to the Austrian actionist. The principles of Wagner’s “Total Artwork” described in his essays, “Art and Revolution” and “The Artwork of the Future” (1849- 1851) were crucial for Nitsch, especially for his “Theatre of Orgies and Mysteries” – performances and vast ritualistic gatherings involving hundreds of participants, which he has been organising for decades. The invitation to participate in the next edition of the Bayreuth Festival is therefore a lifelong dream come true.
Hermann Nitsch’s Valkyrie marks a new stage in the work of visual artists in Bayreuth, for he will not be producing a stage set, but a work in its own right, which will be performed in counterpoint to Wagner’s music. Of his approach to the project, he says: “I know The Valkyrie by heart; in its music is a multitude of the exhilarating sound of colours, and I will, of course, draw on these for my ‘Malaktion’ at the festival; my 2009 ‘56 Malaktion’ entitled Cathedral of Colours” will also be a major reference.