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Herman Nitsch

Vienna, Austria 1938–2022

Hermann Nitsch is a painter, graphic designer, set designer, writer and composer. He was born in Vienna in 1938 and soon became one of the initiators of Performance Art and Viennese Actionism, an artistic movement of the 1960s which expressed itself through the use of images and contents with a psychological, sado-masochistic and self-harming, irreverently critical character. and at times almost blasphemous towards religious symbolism, the functions of the body and sexual practices. The ultimate aim of this current is to cause a stir in the spectator, forcing him to accept the reality in which we are immersed.

The war in Austria greatly influences Nitsch's paintings. He remembers sleeping underground when air raids dropped bombs on his head. The landscape around him was desolate, destroyed, full of rubble and black smoke; there was a smell of death. This scene had repercussions on the artist in the form of night terrors even after the end of the war, causing him terror and cold sweats.

His paintings are real performances, they exactly portray that darkness, that barbarism. The canvas is permeated with splatters of what appears to be blood, matter and rotting flesh.  Sometimes religious symbols such as the host or priest's tunic are also depicted. The dark colors thrown violently on the canvas, so similar to blood, are accompanied by the whiteness of the clothes and bodies, to underline the existential contrast within the human story.

Nitsch's works can be found in the most prestigious collections and museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Guggenheim Collection, New York; the Metropolitan Museum, New York; the Tate, London; the Center Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Rivoli Castle; GAM, Turin; the Mart, Rovereto; the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf; the Museum Ludwig, Cologne; the Nationalgalerie Berlin; the Lenbachhaus, Munich; the Staatsgemäldesammlung Munich; the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart; the Kunsthalle Hamburg; the Kunstmuseum Bern; Kunstmuseum Winterthur; Albertina, Vienna; mumok, Vienna; Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna; Leopold Museum, Vienna.


Hermann Nitsch



acrylic on canvas

150 x 200 cm

Registered office: Via Caleselle di Oriago, 131/b | 30034 Oriago di Mira (VE) |

 | Phone +39 333 4744007

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