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    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
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Current Exhibition

EXHIBITED AT THE SAATCHI GALLERY

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Hermann Nitsch
Aktion Painting - Fresco

1981

Oil and Acrylic on Canvas

202 x 320cm
His Fresco, with its connotations of martyrdom and penance, is fixed with the tortured bust of a ’saint’, a site of devotional worship as horrifically compelling as an ossuary or catacomb.

Much is made of Hermann Nitsch as cult provocateur, but he is first and foremost an artist: his performances and rituals are painstakingly planned in the context and language of art. Each ’Aktion’ is premeditated through preparatory drawings and paintings, reflecting Hermann Nitsch’s influence by, and position within, the predominant movements spanning his career.
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Hermann Nitsch
Splatter Painting

1986

Oil and Acrylic on Canvas

200 x 300cm
Hailed by many as the Pope of Viennese ’Aktionism’, Hermann Nitsch, together with Günter Brus, Otto Mühl, and Rudolf Schwartzkogler, reformed the face of sixties art, shunning the illusionary confines of traditional painting and sculpture, reinventing an art that exists in real, corporeal, and violent terms.

Hermann Nitsch was celebrated and reviled in equal measure as he took the semblance of a pagan ceremony and incorporated robed processions, symbolic crucifixion, drunken excess, nudity, animal sacrifice, the drinking of blood, and the ritualistic incorporation of viscera and entrails. Even today, his audiences aren’t mere visitors, but active participants in his artistic liturgies.

Hermann Nitsch’s work draws parallels between religion and the ritualistic spiritualism of creativity. Heavily entrenched in ancient philosophy and a dissident, questioning Christian theology, he actively seeks catharsis through pain and compassion, a rigorously disciplined quest for ethereal release and enlightenment through an embracing of primal instinct and ancient sacrament.
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Hermann Nitsch
Splatter Painting

1986

Oil and Acrylic on Canvas

186 x 260cm
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Hermann Nitsch
Splatter Painting

1983

Oil and Acrylic on Canvas

190 x 300cm
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Hermann Nitsch
Splatter Painting

1990

Oil and Acrylic on Canvas

200 x 300cm
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Hermann Nitsch
Splatter Painting

1983

Acrylic on Canvas

200 x 300cm
The blank canvases incorporated as backdrops to his performances are sometimes smeared in blood, while others are violently attacked with symbolic red and purple paint. In the gallery, Hermann Nitsch’s ’Splatter’ paintings exist as holy ’relics’: icons of metaphysical significance, radiating an aura of edification. They convey a terrible beauty, a sublime contemplation of life, violence, transgression and extremity.
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Hermann Nitsch
Golden Love

1974

Mulitmedia Collage

200 x 300cm
In Golden Love, Hermann Nitsch presents a monumental collage. In his panel of bedazzling candy-coloured pop, images of babies sit alongside animal carcasses, flowers, and sexual perversion, in an unlikely remix reminiscent of Robert Rauschenberg’s combines. Borrowing from the geometric design of the era, Hermann Nitsch’s grid-like display lies somewhere between science textbook precision and the impassioned fervour of a religious zealot; pain and pleasure are united in a work which is the epitome of middle-class subversion and corrupted decadence.
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Hermann Nitsch
Process

1982

Collage on Canvas

240 x 140cm
Process is a visual dissection of a painting. Here Hermann Nitsch’s trademark gore is thinned to a rapturous rosy pink, both hopeful and grotty. Nitsch encloses his Masonic-esque symbols on their own separate plane, his element of collage both a quarantine from, and contamination of, the delicate surface below.
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Hermann Nitsch
The Last Supper

1976-9

Pencil and Pen on Paper

155 x 370cm
The Last Supper was a work Hermann Nitsch originally conceived and mounted at the French Cultural Centre in Milan. Based on Leonardo da Vinci’s famous fresco (housed in the same city), Hermann Nitsch’s performative response was finalised as an installation consisting of a table, surrounded by twelve pictures, and a large canvas symbolic of Christ.

In this drawing, Hermann Nitsch works through his conception of the Christian story of betrayal, repentance, and forgiveness. Depicting each figure as an anatomical diagram, he plays on the concept of the Eucharist: spiritual cleansing through the eating of blood and flesh.

The Christ figure in the centre is rendered in red as an emanating energy force; neither good nor evil, his face is a skull-like mask bearing the inane mischievous grin of a Mona Lisa smile.
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Hermann Nitsch
Six Day Play

1998

Oil and Acrylic on Canvas

200 x 300cm
In 1957, Hermann Nitsch declared that all of his performances were merely preparation for his lifelong ambition of the Six Day Play. In August 1998, this monumental project was realised as his 100th ’Aktion’: a re-enactment of the story of creation. By far his most decadent execution, Hermann Nitsch declared this project to be his pinnacle.

ARTICLES

Bloody Man:
The Ritual Art of Hermann Nitsch

by Eugene Gorny

From this outward description let us try to comprehend the inner meaning of what is going on.
Firstly, we can see very strict organisation of theritual. The same set of elements is reproduced; the roles of participants and spectators are rigidly determined; an opportunity of improvisation is reduced to a minimum. Properly speaking, there is only one person who develops any creative activity - Nitsch himself. The others merely realize his scenario or passively observe what's going on.

That is, of course, what differs Nitsch's performance from the ancient mysteries where there could not be spectators at all. There all were actors and creators atthe same time. In the course of an ecstatic co-action everybody "transcended himself" and entered into communion with a high mystery of the being and of the self. What mysteries do Nitsch's performance lead to? And how are they connected with 'wounds'?

Nitsch plays with the symbolism of Christian ritual. Communion with real blood and real flesh means, of course, a desymbolization of the Eucharist. In this sense he acts as a consistent Protestant reaching the last limits of iconoclasm. On the other hand, this desymbolisation can be perceived as a negation of the transcendental, spiritual significance of the Eucharist. "Blood is only blood and this is the only reality of existence". Such a belief, from the Christian point of view, is undoubtedly a satanic perversion of truth.

If desymbolized blood and flesh are considered to be alpha and omega of the human nature, there remains no room for a faith in the immortal soul. For through blood, whichg ives equal right to active violence and passive suffering and also justifies all kinds of perverted sexuality, human beings communicate not with transcendental reality but with the animal's world of instincts.

Read the entire article
Source: zhurnal.ru