Hermann Nitsch, Das Orgien Mysterien Theater, 1977, Embossed clothbound box, photographs, blood on canvas on paper card, 70 × 57 × 20 cm, Edition of 21 plus III AP
Courtesy of Archivio Conz, Berlin
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Embossed clothbound slipcase containing a four volume set of embossed clothbound portfolio books comprising a colophon, the artist’s text “theatre und abreaktion,” the notated graphical score, a total of seven sepia toned photographs and one hundred sixty black & white photographs, and one relic from the performance.
  • Embossed clothbound box, photographs, blood on canvas on paper card
  • 70 × 57 × 20 cm
    (27 ½ × 22 ½ × 7 ⅞ inches)
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  • Hermann Nitsch (1939 Vienna, Austria – 2022 Mistelbach, Austria) was a leading figure of Viennese Actionism. Viennese Actionism was born in the early 1960s from the convergence of Nitsch’s vision and those of Günter Brus, Otto Mühl, and Rudolf Schwarzkogler, representing the most controversial expression of body art in Europe. Nitsch's performances incorporated theater and ritual, profanity and ceremony, body and painting, addressing the psychological depths of human existence. The Greek Tragedy, as well as Arnold Schoenberg, Richard Wagner, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, and Antonin Artaud, were some of the references Nitsch brought together in these years within the concept of the Orgies Mysteries Theatre, aiming at a total art experience. This artistic conception, which combined psychoanalysis, mysticism, and existentialism, was the common thread in Nitsch’s production. First incorporated in a six-day written drama, then condensed on canvas with his Schüttbilder (Poured Paintings), the concept of the O.M. Theatre found its ultimate expression in crude multisensory actions that employed primordial revulsion to trigger a cathartic purification in the audience. In the following years, Nitsch presented numerous performative actions in Vienna, which aroused protests and scandal. Uniting symbols such as the crucifixion and the immaculate conception, as well as blood, nudity, bodily fluids, and animal carcasses, earned him numerous convictions for indecency. In 1972 Nitsch was invited by Harald Szeemann to participate in documenta 5. On this occasion, Nitsch met Francesco Conz, the first collector to support him financially through numerous acquisitions. Parallel to several international appearances, the Prinzendorf Castle became the theater where Nitsch presented his most famous actions, such as the monumental 6-Day Play (1998) and the 120. Aktion (2004).

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