The Museo Hermann Nitsch Archivio Laboratorio per le Arti Contemporanee is located in a former factory built in 1892 to produce electricity.
Conceived as a space for the documentation and analysis of the philosophical, poetic and visual themes developed by the great Austrian artist Hermann Nitsch (Vienna 1938 – Mistelbach 2022), it is a place where the art works (relics) from the Aktionen of the Orgien Mysterien Theater once more take solid form, in an exploratory journey open to experimentation and the ideal of Gesamtkunstwerk (total art work), where the multiple domains of visual experience converge synaesthetically.
The Hermann Nitsch Museum, located in the heart of the lively Pontecorvo district, is the brainchild of Giuseppe Morra, who has been a friend of the Maestro and a patron of his work since the 1970s.
The exhibition layout – due to change every two years – is a sort of masterclass by Nitsch, through which we can grasp the energy, the beauty, the interweaving of codes, and the ritual celebration of life, and he himself tells us: ‘…only through art, through artistic experience, can I reach the deepest levels, and it is only at these depths that I wish to celebrate existence’ (H. Nitsch).
By emphasising these deep anthropological interconnections, the Museo Hermann Nitsch Archivio Laboratorio per le Arti Contemporanee aims to become a diversified space for projects and reflection on the very essence of Art, using its languages, dramaturgy, and phenomena to support young people, artists, and intellectuals in a spirit of openness to advanced research and academic culture in exchanges with a network of national and international facilities and institutions with which the Museum works.
Experts work here to produce and catalogue works of art and documents, encouraging direct experience and facilitating access, collaborating in synergy on various aspects and disciplines, and frequently involving specialists in specific events.
One of the Museum’s missions is to organise educational programmes for students and teachers from secondary schools, universities, and training centres, not only to valorise the knowledge they possess, but also to enable new forms of socialisation, integration, and personal enrichment.
Through workshops and laboratories, direct learning activities, readings and first-hand sources, studies of specific themes, meetings with artists, and support in syllabus design for schools and teachers, the active experience of visiting the museum becomes a reciprocal exchange, a place for trading knowledge and stimulating curiosity.
The Hermann Nitsch Museum is the result of an analytical process addressing situations, realities, and criteria, the importance of which has led to the creation of a series of core facilities:
– the Collection, based on Nitsch’s installations and works from 1974 to the present day with the Morra Foundation
– the Centre for Documentation, Training and Research, a collection of digitalised texts on the art of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with particular focus on the avant-garde, offers tools to study and understand today’s artistic phenomena, themes, and cultural challenges to make the Museum a dynamic centre for analysis, learning, and training. The volumes it contains represent an important documentary testimony to artistic life in the period between the twentieth century and the new millennium. The department also promotes targeted and reliable scientific research on historical and artistic themes, and to build new relationships with other centres in Italy and abroad
– the Library and Media Library, classifying books, catalogues, critical texts, articles, magazines, monographs, and conferences, is an archive enabling in-depth study of artistic output and will provide opportunities for in-depth study for experts particularly interested in historical and cultural research
– the Department for Independent Experimental Cinema, housing videos from Nitsch’s Aktionen from 1970 to the present day. It aims to become a centre for the promotion and distribution of independent cinema, examining year by year the themes and methods of historical and contemporary film-makers
– the Contemporary Music Audio Library, containing material dating from 1940 to the present day and housing collections of some of the most innovative languages in contemporary sound art. The works in the collection represent concrete, ambient, and minimalist music, including concerts and improvisations, all conceiving of sound as a means of individual and social construction
– the Education Department, using dynamic teaching methods to organise and promote training, educational, and planning activities to foster intellectual development, building on practical skills and abilities. It promotes and supports the production of documents, materials, and tools for Cultural Heritage Education and welcomes observations and suggestions from teachers and students about the educational use of the Museum to create an environment for conversation between schools and cultural institutions.