Hermann Nitsch

Hermann Nitsch (*1938 in Vienna, AT. Lives and works in Prinzendorf, AT and in Asolo, IT)


Hermann Nitsch is a key figure in the context of Austrian post-war art as one of the founders of Wiener Aktionismus (Viennese actionism) and one of the most versatile contemporary artists: actionist, painter, composer (organ concesrt, symphonies) and stage designer. Born in 1938, Nitsch was strongly affected by the trauma of the war and as a result his works reveal a controversial fascination with excessive taboo images, nudity, bloody scenes. This aspect caused Nitsch to be charged with gross public indecency which costed him prison sentences.


During the 1950s Nitsch conceived the Orgien Mysterien Theater (which roughly translates as Theatre of Orgies and Mysteries), an attempt to create a ‘total art’, a mystical experience involving all senses. Nitsch’s approach to art was deeply rooted in actionism, performance and different media. His paintings are often the result of larger multi-media performative actions.