Hermann Nitsch's Biography And Exhibitions At Saatchi-gallery
Hermann Nitsch was born in Vienna in 1938. While studying graphic illustration, he became interested in religous art. He made copies from Rembrandts 100 Gulden Blatt and Christ Crucified, and from other religious themes by artists such as Tintoretto and El Greco. Other drawings Hermann Nitsch made at this time were strongly influenced by Czanne, Klimt and Munch, amongst others. From around 1957 onwards, the depiction of Dionysian revelry and ceremonies began to feature in his work.
The first performances of the O. M. Theatre consisted of Hermann Nitsch and friends using animal carcasses, entrails, and blood in a ritualistic way. The cloths, bandages and other fabrics used in these performances introduced Nitsch to the idea of making paintings. 1960 saw the first exhibition of his 'Aktion' paintings in Vienna. In the mid-60's Nitschs theatre pieces were also performed in Vienna.
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.
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.
Hermann Nitsch composed himself was becoming increasingly prominent in his performances. In 1972 he participated in Documenta V, Kassel, and staged 'Aktions' at the Mercer Center and Everson Museum of Art.
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