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4 Museo Nitsch 2014 2016

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Curator: Michael Karrer, Nitsch Museum, Mistelbach (Austria)

As part of an international project by the two Hermann Nitsch Museums, the Mistelbach (Austria) Museum has designed an exhibition on action painting to be held at the Nitsch Museum in Naples. The exhibition analyses and illustrates the genesis, development and meaning of action painting in relation to the Orgien Mysterien Theater. Action painting, especially the intrinsic act of painting, is a sensory and dramatic process, intimately bound to Hermann Nitsch's conception of theatre. The exhibition at the museum shows the genesis, development and meaning of action painting in relation to the Orgien Mysterien Theater.

The exhibition, Action Painting – Excess and Sensuality, takes its inspiration from a pivotal statement made by the artist in 1964: “My action painting is the visible grammar of my theatre of action on the surface of a canvas.” As such, the exhibition offers an examination of the integral relationship between action painting and the Orgien Mysterien Theater. Hermann Nitsch's first action paintings took place in 1960, in his studio at the Technisches Museum of Vienna, away from the public eye or only in the presence of a few of the artist's friends. The splattering and pouring of coloured substances onto different surfaces became an authentic event, a live experience of substantial sensuality (Hermann Nitsch, 1987). Today, hundreds of art lovers from around the world flock to attend Hermann Nitsch's action painting performances. Many of these, however, reduce action painting to the process of generating Schüttbilder 'spill-paintings' - unaware of the overall connection between them, or better, the extent to which these processes are integrally linked to the Orgien Mysterien Theater, the Gesamtkunstwerk. For the first time, an exhibition will address this issue and will attempt to compare and contrast the sensory intensity of the Orgien Mysterien Theater with the so-called 'sensuality of substance' that marks action painting performance. This large-scale exhibition at the Nitsch Museum in Naples will present eighty-eight Schüttbilder taken from ten different actions, along with a selection of illustrative texts and documentary photographs.

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