MARC STRAUS is proud to present Hermann Nitsch’s first solo exhibition at the gallery; it will include recent paintings as well as important historic pieces from his distinguished career of over 55 years.
Hermann Nitsch is a missionary of art. Since 1957, Nitsch has been addressing the intensification of human existence through his ritualistic performance art, most prominently “The Orgien Mysterien Theater.” With more than 100 performances to date, the performance works summon the synthesis of all senses to reveal deep universal truths. In these interpretations of pagan ceremonies, Nitsch becomes the conductor who balances his premeditated Aktions with spontaneous incidents, culminating in orgiastic frenzy – a catharsis – commanding complete dissolution of restraints from its participants. He intensifies complex themes such as creativity, politics, capitalism, innocence, sex, violence, and even questions animal cruelty. If Art is Sin, Nitsch is on a quest for the betterment of the soul.
This exhibition at MARC STRAUS will feature the resulting products of these bold performances: the paintings. His paintings record the corporeal existence of its contributors on their lush surfaces – the hysterical shuffle of dance, a smear, a bloody mark. In the same vein as Gutai’s Kazuo Shiraga’s suspended performances, the anthropometric records of Yves Klein or the shamanistic displays of Jackson Pollock, Nitsch explores the human body as a vehicle for his paintings. The paintings are beautiful abstractions symbolizing what it means to be human. They are graceful violent palimpsests, full of vitality but also quiet for contemplation, representing a life of originality, courage and dissidence.
Hermann Nitsch (b. 1938) lives and works at Prinzendorf Castle on the Zaya River, Lower Austria. His works are exhibited in the two Nitsch Museums in Mistelbach and Naples as well as in the Nitsch Foundation in Vienna and can be found in the permanent collections of preeminent international museums and galleries, including: MoMA, Guggenheim, The Metropolitan Museum New York, Tate Gallery London, The Centre Pompidou Paris, Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich and many more.