Hermann Nitsch. Synaesthesia

Exhibition opening

November 21, 2019, 7pm — 9pm

Nitsch Foundation, Vienna, AT

“my work is to be a school of life, of perception and of sensibility, and experienced with all of the five senses.”

Whether in music or painting, in both cases Nitsch speaks of colours and tones, of harmonies and dissonances. During his time teaching in Frankfurt, Hermann Nitsch developed with his students a series of “colour and form experiments”. The “colour scales” demonstrated harmonious relationships and constellations, which are also an essential component in the Orgies Mysteries Theatre. They not only exist within the one medium, but in the spirit of synaesthesia they are to be correlated to sounds, to valences of taste and smell. In fact, it is only through the synaesthesia of the sensory impressions that the total work of art can even be experienced.

With this exhibition the Nitsch Foundation explores the ideas of synaesthesia in the Orgies Mysteries Theatre and traces the meaning and significance of the interplay between the various sensory impressions in Hermann Nitsch’s work.

One highlight of the exhibition is a spectrogram of Nitsch’s 150th action, created especially for the exhibition.

A spectrogram is used to visually represent sounds, spoken language, and music. On a vertical axis the passage of time is shown, while the horizontal axis plots the frequency. The more intensive the colour, the louder the tone. A spectrogram is thus very similar to a sheet of music in this respect. The length of the dash indicates how long the single tone sounds out, while the height of the dash represents the pitch, and the colour intensity signifies its loudness.

We sincerely thank the Acoustics Research Institute at the Austrian Academy of Sciences for the realization of the spectrogram.

Project director: Doz. Dr. Peter Balazs
Realization: Ing. Anton Noll
Cooperation: Prof. Dr. Hans Georg Feichtinger



Nitsch Foundation
Hegelgasse 5
1010 Vienna