Hermann Nitsch


Hermann Nitsch (29th August 1938 Wien – 18th April 2022 Mistelbach) is one of the most famous international artists of the second half of the XX century. He is an exponent of the Wiener Aktionismus with Günter Brus, Otto Mühl and Rudolf Schwarzkogler that around the 60s become the major expression of the European Body Art movement. Between 1957 and 1960 Nitsch has developed the project for his Orgies Mysteries Theater, an expression of total art (Gesamtkunstwerk) related to the psycho-analytical concept of abreaction, an emotional motion that allows a subject to remove the effects of dramatic events. By allowing the cathartic liberation from religious, moralistic and sexual taboos, Nitsch proposes the enactment of ancestral rituals and ceremonies.
At that time Nitsch – graduated at the Experimental Graphic Institute of Vienna – joins as a painter the tachiste movement that is based on the interpretation of the informal culture exalting the gesture through which the dripping colour is directly thrown on canvas.
From 1961 on, his actions, where a lamb is tore and its blood used as bleeding painting, become more often and more articulated. Since 1962 men are involved of his performances too; a passive-actor is “crucified” and sprinkled by bleeding blood. In the 60s more materials (as animals’ interiors), viewers and actors are involved in his performances. At the end of 60s when the revolution in art pushes the boundaries, in Germany with Beuys and Vostell, in the USA with Allan Kaprow and the Environment and Happening, and later with Fluxus, Nitsch puts on a theatrical play as a celebration of life, with the synesthetic involvement of the existence. In 1971 Nitsch and his wife Beate buy a castle in Prinzendorf, 50km far away from Vienna that becomes the main place for his Orgien Mysterien Theater. Different actions take place from Whitsunday 1973. In 1974 he meets Giuseppe Morra and one of his actions (45.aktion) takes place in the Studio Morra and causes his expulsion from Italy. In the same year Morra arranges in Düsseldorf, Germany, a long monumental action during the three days of the fair. The Studio Morra becomes his main gallery and his publisher. His major theoretical work the O. M. Theater 2 is published by Morra. In 1977, after the tragic death of his wife Beate, he commemorates her through the 55.action that takes place in the church of Santa Lucia in Bologna. The requiem score is again published by Morra. In 1979, he moves to a fisherman’s house in the archaeological area near Cuma (Naples), where some years before he was with his wife. This inspiring place is ideal to project a new action named cuma könig ödipus III.fest. On Morra’s suggestion he writes the score, which is published in 1983. In the 1970s and ‘80s the numbers of his actions increase, he is invited to important international events, to museums, to take conferences and play his music.
His 80.aktion takes place in July 1984 and lasts 3 days and 3 nights. The score is published by Morra in 1994 titled “Hermann Nitsch”, with texts by Achille Bonito Oliva, Jürgen Schilling, Angelo Trimarco, Vincenzo Trione and the photographs by Libero De Cunzo. From the 1990s on, Nitsch has been invited to museums and institutions all over the world (personal and collective exhibitions) where he principally shows with a strong expressive energy his relicts, objects, installation materials, big canvas, his scores and graphic projects, creating his peculiar language that embraces either to theatre, painting, music, photo, video and performance.
On September 13, 2008 Giuseppe Morra opens the Hermann Nitsch Museum Archive Lab for Contemporaries Arts in Napoli, a space for documentation and in-depth study of Nitsch’s work, which hosts the historical production and the most recent installations to explore as wide as possible his extraordinary and huge work.


Aktions and Malaktions

158.aktion 18 september 2020, museo nitsch napoli
85.malaktion 12-14 september 2020, museo nitsch, napoli
152.aktion 8 october 2017, casa morra. archivio d’arte contemporanea, napoli
140.aktion 21 september 2013, art berlin contemporary, stand studio morra/alnitak art agency, berlin
64.malaktion 6-13 october 2012, mart rovereto (trento)
135.aktion 14 may 2012, 11.biennale de arte, havana cuba
62.malaktion 21 april 2012, casa serpone, torrita tiberina (rome)
130.aktion pfingstfest pentecost festival 23 may 2010, museo nitsch and vigna san martino, napoli
129.lehraktion 27 november 2009, galleria hofficina d’arte, rome
54.malaktion august 2008, museo nitsch, napoli
111.aktion pfingstfest pentecost festival 19 may 2002, vigna san martino, napoli
108.lehraktion 5 july 2001, gam rome, le tribù dell’arte II, curated by Achille Bonito Oliva
96.aktion pfingstfest 26 may 1996, vigna san martino, napoli
21.malaktion april 1987, studio morra, napoli
18b.malaktion june-july1986, casa morra, napoli
68.aktion 20 september 1980, convento delle oblate, florence
63.aktion 10 june 1978, teatro romano, trieste
61.aktion 25 aprile 1978, modern art galerie, wien
60.aktion 21 aprile 1978 galerie petersen 1978, berlin
55.aktion 1 june 1977, requiem für meine frau beate, chiesa santa lucia, bologna (as part of the first international performance art week curated by Francesca Alinovi, Renato Barilli and Roberto Daolio)
54.aktion (lehraktion) 29 april 1977, studio morra, napoli
53.aktion 30 november 1976, teatro out off, milan
51.aktion 24 june 1976, arte fiera bologna, with rosanna chiessi, bologna
47.aktion 18-20 october 1974, kunstmesse stand studio morra, düsseldorf
45.aktion 10 april 1974, “teatro delle azioni misteriose”, studio morra, napoli


Exhibitions, conferences and workshop

2022 OEDIPUS. BODY OF BLOOD closing event of the Masterclass held by Andrea Cramarossa focused on the relationship between sound and body 21 – 22 may, Museo Hermann Nitsch, Naples
2020 “Sinfonia Napoli”, curated by Giuseppe Morra, 25 september 2020, Museo Hermann Nitsch, Napoli
2018 “Ten years 2008-2018 Museo Hermann Nitsch”, curated by Giuseppe Morra, 15 september 2018 – 31 july 2020, Museo Hermann Nitsch, Napoli
2017 “Tra Rumore Primigenio e Armonia delle Sfere”, workshop on Herman Nitsch’s music, curated by Leopoldo Siano, 9-13 October, Museo Nitsch, Napoli
2017 “I giganti dell’arte dal teatro: Hermann Nitsch – Julian Beck – Shozo Shimamoto – Joseph Beuys”, curated by Giuseppe Morra, 8 october 2017 – 10 october 2018, Casa Morra Archivio d’arte contemporanea, Napoli (Group show)
2017 “I Martedì Critici – Hermann Nitsch”, curated by Alberto Dambruoso and Guglielmo Gigliotti, 3 October, Art Forum Würth Capena, Capena (Rome)
2017 “Hermann Nitsch – O.M.T. Colore dal Rito”, curated by Italo Tomassoni and Giuseppe Morra, 25 March – 9 July, CIAC-Centro italiano arte contemporanea, Foligno
2017 “Incontro con Hermann Nitsch”, curated by Renato Barilli, 27 January, Auditorium Sala Borsa Università di Bologna
2016 “Hermann Nitsch e il Teatro”, curated by Hubert Klocker, 15 october 2016 – 8 January 2017, AMO – Arena Museo Opera, Verona
2016 “Hermann Nitsch. Arena – opere dall’opera” curated by Giuseppe Morra, 23 April 2016 – 13 September 2018, Museo Nitsch, Napoli
2015 “Hermann Nitsch – Das Orgien Mysterien Theater”, 10 July – 20 September 2015, ZAC Cantieri Culturali alla Zisa, Palermo
2015 “Das Orgien Mysterien Theater”, Giuseppe Morra in conference, and projection of the film “135.aktion”, 27 February 2015 Ex Teresa Arte Actual, Mexico City
2015 “Au rendez-vous des amis” Convention-International Expo curated by Bruno Corà, 27 June – 13 December 2015, Fondazione Palazzo Albizzini Collezione Burri, Città di Castello (Group show)
2014 “Hermann Nitsch. Malaktionismus – Exzess und Sinnlichkeit / Azionismo pittorico – eccesso e sensualità” curated by Michael Karrer, 25 October – 9 April 2016, Museo Nitsch, Napoli
2014 “Hermann Nitsch. die eroberung von jerusalem / conquista di gerusalemme”, Fondazione Morra donation to Pio Monte della Misericordia, Napoli
2014 “Hermann Nitsch. Carne e luce”, curated by Claudio Strinati, 18 June -11 July, Fondazione Ducci, Rome
2014 “Hermann Nitsch. Arena – opere dall’opera” curated by Giuseppe Morra, 27 September 2014 – 29 March 2016, Nitsch Museum, Mistelbach
2014 “Hermann Nitsch incontra gli studenti dell’Accademia di Belle Arti” speech with Lorenzo Mango, Vincenzo Bergamene and Aurora Spinosa, 20 May, Accademia di Belle Arti, Napoli
2014 “Arte, psicoanalisi e società – la poetica della metamorfosi” with Hermann Nitsch, Massimo Fusillo, Lorenzo Mango and Gian Paolo Sammarco, 21 May, Museo Nitsch Napoli
2013 “Hermann Nitsch”, Art Berlin Contemporary, stand Studio Morra/Alnitak Art Agency, 18 – 21 September, Berlino
2013 “Duetto per Napoli – Nitsch e Attersee”, curated by Achille Bonito Oliva, 30 November – 1 March 2014, Castel dell’Ovo, Napoli
2013 “Personal Structures”, curated by Karlyn De Jongh and Sarah Gold, 31 May – 27 November, Palazzo Bembo, Venice (Group show)
2012 “About Caravaggio. Visioni & illusioni contemporanee”, curated by Anna Imponente, 30 November – 7 April 2013, Scuderie Aldobrandini, Frascati (Group show)
2012 “Explosion: painting as action”, curated by Daniel Birnbaum, 2 June – 10 ottobre, Moderna Musee, Stockholm (Group show)
2012 “La perversiòn de lo Clásico: Anarquia de los relatos / La Perversione della Classicità: Anarchia delle narrazioni” Cuba Pavillon 55. Biennale di Venezia, curated by Jorge Fernández Torres and Giacomo Zaza, 31 May – 24 November 2013, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Venice (Group show)
2011 “Leonardo. Il genio, il mito” curated by Renato Barilli, 17 November – 29 January 2012, Scuderie Juvarriane della Reggia di Venaria Reale, Turin (Group show)
2011 “das sein ESSERE”, readings by Hermann Nitsch, with Giuseppe Zevola, speech by Lorenzo Mango and Romano Gasparotti, 7 July, Fondazione Alario, Ascea (Salerno)
2011 “Violenza, frutta, fiori e redenzione: Un discorso poetico su Caravaggio e Hermann Nitsch”, speech with Hermann Nitsch and Robert C. Morgan (University of Philadelphia, U.S.A), 5 July, Museo Nitsch Napoli
2010 “Ciclo di incontri Caravaggio e il contemporaneo – incontro sull’opera artistica di Joseph Beuys” speech with Massimo Donà, curated by Romano Gasparotti, 10 november, Museo Nitsch, Napoli
2010 “Opere Napoletane” new setting up of Museo Nitsch, 11 September – 1 August 2014, Museo Nitsch Napoli
2010 “Ciclo di incontri Caravaggio e il contemporaneo” curated by Romano Gasparotti, speech with Andrea Cardillo, B. del Guercio, Massimo Donà, Felix Duque, Elena Pontiggia, Vincenzo Vitiello, Giuseppe Zevola, 18 June, Museo Nitsch, Napoli
2010 “Hermann Nitsch & Caravaggio”, 1–30 May, Sagrestia del Pio Monte della Misericordia, Napoli
2010 “L’estasi dell’immanenza. Richard Wagner – Hermann Nitsch, dall’opera totale all’O. M. Theater” curated by Andrea Cardillo, speech with Romano Gasparotti, Lorenzo Mango and Aniello Montano, 30 gennaio, Museo Nitsch Napoli
2010 “ESSERE, teorie dell’O. M. Theater”, readings by Hermann Nitsch, translations by Steffen Wagner; presentation of the documentary “H. Nitsch” by Daniela Ambrosoli, 27 January, Museo Nitsch Napoli
2009 “Hermann Nitsch. Installazione Roma 2009”, 27 November – 20 January 2010, Galleria Hofficina d’Arte, Rome
2009 “Madre Coraggio” curated by Achille Bonito Oliva, 26 June – 26 September, Villa Rufolo Ravello (Group show)
2009 L’estasi dell’immanenza. Dioniso e il dionisismo”, speech by Andrea Cardillo and Marisa Tortorelli Ghidini, 17 April, Museo Nitsch Napoli
2009 “I paesaggi e la natura dell’arte” curated by Danilo Eccher, 7 April – 30 September, Museo Arcos, Benevento (Group show)
2009 “Cose mai viste II. The Road to Contemporary”, curated by Achille Bonito Oliva, 2 – 5 April, Palazzo Barberini, Roma (Group show)
2009 “Quinta triennale d’arte sacra contemporanea”, curated by Toti Carpentieri, 21 March – 3 May, Seminario Arcivescovile, Lecce (Group show)
2008 “Relitti delle azioni 1974-2001” Museo Hermann Nitsch Archivio Laboratorio per le Arti Contemporanee, opening, 13 September – 1 August 2010, Museo Nitsch Napoli
2008 “Hermann Nitsch. Opere Recenti”, from 13 September, Fondazione Morra Palazzo Ruffo di Bagnara, Napoli
2008 “Herzlichen glückwunsch – buon compleanno Nitsch (per i 70 anni)”, 29 August, Punta Campanella Torre di Fossa lo Papa – Tenuta Del Genio, Massa Lubrense (Napoli)
2007 “Ultime Ultime Cene” curated by Philippe Daverio, 16 November 2007 – 16 February 2008, Galleria Gruppo Credito Valtellinese, Milano (Collettiva)
2007 “Relitti 122.aktion Burgtheater Wien 2005”, 13 April – 30 September, Fondazione Morra (Palazzo dello Spagnuolo), Napoli
2006 “H-Aktivism” curated by Dores Sacquegna, 16 December – 2 July 2007, Galleria Primo Piano Livingallery, Lecce
2005 “The Giving Person. Il dono dell’artista” curated by Lóránd Hegyi, 26 March – 10 August, PAN Naples (Group show)
2003 “Living Theatre. Labirinti dell’Immaginario” curated by Achille Bonito Oliva, 3 July – 28 September, Castel Sant’Elmo, Napoli (Group show)
2003 “Hermann Nitsch relitti prinzendorf 1988”, 21 september, Punta Campanella, Torre di Fossa lo Papa – Tenuta Del Genio Massa Lubrense (Napoli)
2003 “Hermann Nitsch Opere”, launch for the edition with Michael Hübl and Gabriele Perretta, 12 April – 10 May, Art Scarpulin, Merano
2003 “Della Ferita. Corpi e volti dell’Azionismo” curated by Francesca Alfano Miglietti, from 14 October, Studio Lattuada, Milan
2002 “108.lehraktion Roma. Relitti-foto-video-documenti”, from 18 May, Fondazione Morra Napoli
2001 “Le tribù dell’Arte II” curated by Achille Bonito Oliva, “Azionismo Viennese” curated by Lóránd Hegyi, 3 July – 7 October, GAM Rome (Group show)
2000 Arco Fiera d’arte Madrid, stand Studio Morra, 10-15 February, Madrid (Group show)
1997 “Sammlung Morra (1962-1997)” curated by Peter Weiermair, 29 November – 14 February, Kunstraum Innsbruck
1997 “Dadaismo – dadaismi, 300 capolavori in mostra, da Duchamp a Warhol”, curated by Giorgio Cortenova, 18 July – 9 November, Galleria Comunale Palazzo Forti, Verona (Group show)
1996 Donation to Museo di Capodimonte Contemporary Art Collection Napoli
1996 “Relitti, partitura, foto, e film della 96.aktion pfingstfest Festa di Pentecoste”, from 12 December, Fondazione Morra (Palazzo dello Spagnuolo) Napoli
1995 “Nutrimenti dell’Arte” a cura di Achille Bonito Oliva, 30 July – 29 October, Fondazione Orestiadi, Gibellina (Group show)
1994 “HERMANN NITSCH O.M. Theater”, exhibition and launch of the book with Achille Bonito Oliva, Jürgen Schilling, Angelo Trimarco, Vincenzo Trione, 19 June – 17 July, Casina Vanvitelliana del Fusaro, Bacoli (Napoli)
1991 “Hermann Nitsch” curated by Danilo Eccher, 23 November 1991 – 19 January1992, Galleria Civica di Trento, Trento
1990 “Opere recenti e relitti della 84.aktion”, 14 December 1990 – 31 January 1991, Galleria Stefania Miscetti, Rome
1988 Galerie Krinzinger for Nitsch’s 50th birthday, Vienna
1987 “Sei artisti Viennesi” curated by Rosanna Chiessi and Giuseppe Morra, 16 May – 16 June, Pari&Dispari, Cavriago (Reggio Emila) (Group show)
1987 “Hermann Nitsch. Das Orgien Mysterien Theater 1960-1987” curated by Rudi Fuchs, 3 April – 3 may, Museo Diego Aragona Pignatelli Cortez, Napoli
1986 “Opere e fotografie di azioni 1960 – 1980”, from 13 June, casa Morra, Naples
1986 “Opere 63.aktion Trieste 1978” from 13 June, Studio Morra, Napoli
1986 “Dal profondo. Brus, Nitsch, Rainer. Contemplazione, energismo e mito” curated by Eva Badura-Triska and Hubert Klocker, 24 September – 10 November, PAC Padiglione d’arte contemporanea, Milan (Group show)
1986 “Arte Santa” curated by Achille Bonito Oliva, 11 May – 31 August, Loggia Lombardesca Ravenna (Group show)
1985 “Hermann Nitsch. Opere 1960-1985”, 13 November – 10 December, Mercato del Sale directed by Ugo Carrega, Milan
1984 “Arte Austriaca 1960-1984” curated by Peter Weiermair, 4 June – 31 August, GAM Galleria Comunale d’Arte Moderna, Bologna (Group show)
1982 “Relitto della 68.aktion 1980”, DOCUMENTA 7, curated by Rudi Fuchs, 19 June – 28 September, Kassel
1980 ART 11 ’80 Die Internationale Kunstmesse Basel, stand Studio Morra, Basilea (Group show)
1979 “Hermann Nitsch – Presentazione dei nuovi libri”, 31.Frankfurter Buchmesse, stand Edizioni Morra, October, Francoforte
1977 “Hermann Nitsch, Documenti, foto, reperti 1974-1977”, from 29 April, Libero per, Napoli
1976 Arte Fiera Bologna First Edition, stand Studio Morra e Pari&Dispari, Bologna (Group show)
1975 International Kunstmesse Wien, stand Studio Morra, Vienna
1974 “Hermann Nitsch”, stand Studio Morra, 4.International Markt für aktuelle Kunst, 19 – 24 October, Düsseldorf
1974 “Hermann Nitsch, Fotografie della 45.aktion”, Galleria Diagramma Luciano Inga Pin, Milan
1974 “Hermann Nitsch, Foto delle azioni 1962-1974”, from 2 April, Studio Morra Napoli
1974 “Fotodokumentation 45.aktion napoli, 47.aktion Düsseldorf“, stand Studio Morra, Art 6 ’75 International Kunstmesse, 18 – 23 June, Basilea



18 settembre 2020 “sinfonia napoli”, Nuova Orchestra Scarlatti di Napoli, director Andrea Cusumano, Museo Nitsch, Napoli
15 October 2016, “sinfonie für verona”, Auditorium Palazzo della Gran Guardia, Verona
17 June 2014 “concert for fondazione ducci”, imago sonora ensemble, director Andrea Cusumano, Biblioteca Angelica Salone Vanvitelliano, Rome
29 November 2013 “duetto per Napoli” Nitsch and Attersee in concert, Teatro di Corte del Palazzo Reale, Napoli
22 May 2010, “string quintet”, string quintet H. Nitsch (Alessandro Zambito, Carlos Verduca, Enrico Cacciato, Lucio Corrente, Claudio Guadrini) directed by Andrea Cusumano, Pio Monte della Misericordia Salone della Quadreria, Napoli
23 June 2006, “string quintet”, for “Una notte di arte totale inaugura Fresco Bosco” curated by Achille Bonito Oliva, Certosa di San Lorenzo, Padula
23 September 2003, “sinfonia punta campanella in 4 movimenti”, director Andrea Cusumano, in “Labirinti dell’immaginario – sezione concerti”, Auditorium Castel Sant’Elmo, Napoli
22 September 2003, “sinfonia punta campanella in 4 movimenti”, director Andrea Cusumano, Torre di Fossa Lo Papa, Alberto and Valeria Del Genio’s runch, Massa Lubrense (Napoli)
3 April 1987 piano concert for the opening of the show “Hermann Nitsch. Das Orgien Mysterien Theater 1960-1987” curated by Rudi Fuchs, Museo Diego Aragona Pignatelli Cortez, Napoli
1 June 1977, 55.aktion Requiem für meine frau beate, Chiesa Santa Lucia, Bologna as part of the first International Performance Art Week curated by Francesca Alinovi, Renato Barilli and Roberto Daolio)
27 September 1974, “Selten Gehörte Musik – Musica che si ascolta raramente. Das Berliner Konzert” with Christian Attersee, Günter Brus, Hermann Nitsch, Arnulf Rainer, Dieter Roth, Gerhard Rühm, Dominik Steiger, Oswald Wiener, Kirche zum Heiligen Kreuz Berlin


The following collections and museums own works of Hermann Nitsch:

AGO Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto Canada
Castello di Rivoli, Torino Italia
Casa Serpone, Torrita Tiberina (Roma) Italia
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris France
Essl Collection of Contemporary Art, Klosterneuburg Austria
Ferdinandeum, Innsbruck Austria
Galerie Lenbachhaus, Munich Germany
Guggenheim Collection, New York USA
Kunsthalle, Hamburg Germany
Kunstmuseum, Bern Switzerland
Kunstmuseum Winterthur Switzerland
Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf Germany
Busch-Reisinger Museum Harvard University, Cambridge USA
MAMBO Galleria d´Arte Moderna, Bologna Italia
MART Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Trento Italia
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York USA
MOMA Museum of Modern Art, New York USA
Moderna Museet, Stockholm Sweden
Mumok – Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Wien Austria
Museo di Capodimonte, Napoli Italia
Museum Ludwig, Koln Germany
Museum University of Yale, New Haven USA
Nationalgalerie, Berlin Germany
Nitsch Museum, Mistelbach Austria
Pio Monte della Misericordia, Napoli Italia
Rupertinum, Salzsburg Austria
Walker Kind Center, Minneapolis USA
Staatsgalerie Stuttgart Germany
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam Netherlands
Tate Gallery, London UK
Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven Netherlands