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Hermann Nitsch

Born in: 1938

Austria

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Biography

Hermann Nitsch, born 29 August 1938 in Vienna, is an Austrian contemporary artist. Before focusing on painting, Nitsch has studied at the Graphische Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt (Institute of Graphic Arts) in Vienna (Austria).

In 1961, he created his first Schüttbilder (a version of the Dripping developed by the actionists) and, in collaboration with Otto Mühl and Adolf Frohner, he organized actions inspired by the Fluxus happenings and performances.

At this time he also developed the concept of the Orgien-Mysterien Theater (Theater of Orgies and Mysteries). Integrating all art forms -- painting, architecture, music, etc. -- the Orgien-Mysterien Theater, similar to Wagner's idea of Gesamstkunstwerk (total work of art), is supposed to gradually stimulate all the participants' senses until the moment of the climax, when each of them should become aware of their existence in their own differentway.

Since 1971, Nitsch has been organizing regularly his Orgien-Mysterien-Spiele at Schloss Prinzendorf (a castle in Austria), that he has bought the same year. His 100th performance, in the summer of 1998, designed as the culmination of his work, the "6-Tage-Spiel", lasted six whole days.

Hermann Nitsch's vision of the world is profoundly marked by mythical writers such as Sade, Nietzsche, Freud, Artaud or Bataille.

In the creation of his Orgien-Mysterien Theater, Hermann Nitsch is also a writer and composer. His actions are meticulously described and his partitions contain, besides musical pieces, action instructions and texts.

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