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Hermann Nitsch | Biography

Hermann Nitsch Biography

Official site: www.nitsch.org/index-en.html


7 Hermann Nitsch pHermann Nitsch (Vienna 1938) is one of the most famous international artists of the second half of the Xx century. He’s the main 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 Theatre, 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 Sperimental 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 Kaprow and the happening, and also the Fluxus, Nitsch puts on a theatrical play as a celebration of life, with the synesthetic involvement of the existence. In the 1971 Nitsch buys a castle in Prindendorf, 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 om 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 oidipus iii.fest. On Morra’s suggestion he writes the score, which will be published in the 1983. Than in the 70s and 80s the numbers of his actions increase, he’s 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 in the volume titled “Hermann Nitsch”, with texts by Achille Bonito Oliva, Jürgen Schilling, Angelo Trimarco, Libero De Cunzo, Vincenzo Trione and the artist himself. From the 90s 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

152.aktion 8 October 2017, Casa Morra. Archivio d’Arte Contemporanea, Naples

140.aktion 21 September 2013, Art Berlin Contemporary, stand Studio Morra/Alnitak Art Agency

64.malaktion 6 - 13 October 2012, MART Rovereto (Trento)

135.aktion 14 May 2012, 11. Biennale de Arte, Havana de 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, Naples

129.lehraktion 27 November 2009, Galleria Hofficina d’Arte, Rome

54.malaktion August 2008, Museo Nitsch, Naples

111.aktion Pfingstfest Pentecost Festival 19 May 2002, Vigna San Martino, Naples

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, Naples

21.malaktion April 1987, Studio Morra, Naples

18b.malaktion June-July1986, Casa Morra, Naples

68.aktion 20 September 1980, Convento delle Oblate, Florence

63.aktion 10 June 1978, Teatro Romano, Trieste

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, Naples

53.aktion 30 November 1976, Teatro OUT OFF, Milan

51.aktion 24 June1976, 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, Naples

60.aktion Galerie Petersen 1978, Berlin



2017 “Tra Rumore Primigenio ed Armonia delle Sfere”, workshop on Herman Nitsch music, curated by Leopoldo Siano, 9-13 October, Museo Nitsch, Naples

2017 “Incontro con Hermann Nitsch”, curated by Renato Barilli, 27 January, Arte Fiera, Bologna

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 Tomassoni and Giuseppe Morra, 25 March - 9 July, CIAC-Centro italiano arte contemporanea, Foligno

2016 “Hermann Nitsch. Arena - opere dall’opera” curated by Giuseppe Morra, 23 April 2016 – 13 September 2018, Museo Nitsch, Naples

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, Città del Messico

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, Naples

2014 “Hermann Nitsch. die eroberung von jerusalem / conquista di gerusalemme”, Fondazione Morra donation to Pio Monte della Misericordia, Naples

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” with Lorenzo Mango, Vincenzo Bergamene and Aurora Spinosa, 20 May, Accademia di Belle Arti, Naples

2014 “Arte, psicoanalisi e società - la poetica della metamorfosi” with Hermann Nitsch, Massimo Fusillo, Lorenzo Mango and Gian Paolo Sammarco, 21 May, Museo Nitsch Naples

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, Naples

2013 "Personal Structures", curated by Karlyn De Jongh and Sarah Gold, 31 May – 27 November, Palazzo Bembo, Venice (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)

2012 “Explosion: painting as action”, curated by Daniel Birnbaum, 2 June - 10 ottobre, Moderna Musee, Stockholm (Group show)

2012 “About Caravaggio. Visioni & illusioni contemporanee”, curated by Anna Imponente, 30 November - 7 April 2013, Scuderie Aldobrandini, Frascati (Group show)

2011 “Violenza, frutta, fiori e redenzione: Un discorso poetico su Caravaggio e Hermann Nitsch”, meeting with Hermann Nitsch and Robert C. Morgan (University of Philadelphia, U.S.A), 5 July, Museo Nitsch Naples

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)

2010 “Opere Napoletane” new setting up of Museo Nitsch, 11 September - 1 August 2014, Museo Nitsch, Naples

2010 “Hermann Nitsch & Caravaggio”, 1 – 30 May, Sagrestia del Pio Monte della Misericordia, Naples

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 Naples

2010 “Ciclo di incontri Caravaggio e il contemporaneo”: 10 November- meeting with Massimo Donà; 18 June – meeting with Romano Gasparotti and Andrea Cardillo, B. del Guercio, Massimo Donà, Felix Duque, Elena Pontiggia, Vincenzo Vitiello, Museo Nitsch, Naples

2009 L’estasi dell’immanenza. Dioniso e il dionisismo”, meeting by Andrea Cardillo and Marisa Tortorelli Ghidini, 17 April, Museo Nitsch Naples

2009 “Quinta triennale d’arte sacra contemporanea”, curated by Toti Carpentieri, 21 March – 3 May, Seminario Arcivescovile, Lecce (Group show)

2009 “Madre Coraggio” curated byAchille Bonito Oliva, 26 June – 26 September, Villa Rufolo Ravello (Group show)

2009 “L’estasi dell’immanenza. Richard Wagner - Hermann Nitsch, dall’opera totale all’O. M. Theater”, meeting by Andrea Cardillo with Romano Gasparotti, Lorenzo Mango and Aniello Montano, 30 January, Museo Nitsch Naples

2009 “I paesaggi e la natura dell'arte” curated by Danilo Eccher, 7 April – 30 September, Museo Arcos, Benevento (Group show)

2009 “Hermann Nitsch. Installazione Roma 2009”, 27 November - 20 January 2010, Galleria Hofficina d’Arte, Rome

2009 “Cose mai viste II. The Road to Contemporary”, curated by Achille Bonito Oliva, 2 – 5 April, Palazzo Barberini, Roma (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 Naples

2008 “Herzlichen glückwunsch - buon compleanno Nitsch (per i 70 anni)”, 29 August, Punta Campanella Torre di Fossa lo Papa - Tenuta Del Genio, Massa Lubrense (Naples)

2008 “Hermann Nitsch. Opere Recenti”, from 13 September, Fondazione Morra (Palazzo Ruffo di Bagnara), Naples

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), Naples

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, Naples (Group show)

2003 “Hermann Nitsch”, Punta Campanella, Torre di Fossa lo Papa - Tenuta Del Genio Massa Lubrense (Naples)

2003 “Hermann Nitsch Opere”, 12 April – 10 May, Art Scarpulin, Merano; lounch fo the edition with Michael Hübl and Gabriele Perretta

2003 “Della Ferita. Corpi e volti dell’Azionismo” curated by Francesca Alfano Miglietti, from 14 October, Lattuada Studio, Milan

2002 “108.lehraktion Roma. Relitti-foto-video-documenti”, from 18 May, Fondazione Morra Naples

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 Permanent Contemporary Collection of Museo di Capodimonte, Naples

1996 “Relitti, partitura, foto, e film della 96.aktion Pfingstfest Festa di Pentecoste”, from 12 December, Fondazione Morra (Palazzo dello Spagnuolo) Naples

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”, 19 June - 17 July, lounch of the book with Achille Bonito Oliva, Jürgen Schilling, Angelo Trimarco, Vincenzo Trione, Casina Vanvitelliana del Fusaro, Bacoli (Naples)

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 - 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, April, Museo Diego Aragona Pignatelli Cortez, Naples

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, Naples

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, Naples

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, Naples

1974 “Fotodokumentation 45.aktion napoli, 47.aktion Düsseldorf“, stand Studio Morra, Art 6 ’75 International Kunstmesse, 18 - 23 June, Basilea



15 October 2016, “Sinfonie für Verona”, Auditorium Palazzo della Gran Guardia, Verona

17 June 2014 “Hermann Nitsch tra Arte e Musica”, Biblioteca Angelica Salone Vanvitelliano, Rome

29 November 2013 “Duetto per Napoli” Nitsch and Attersee in concert, Teatro di Corte del Palazzo Reale, Naples

22 May 2010, “String Quintett”, 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, Naples

23 June 2006, “String Quintett”, 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, Naples

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 (Naples)

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, Naples

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)

November 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

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris Francia

Essl Collection of Contemporary Art, Klosterneuburg Austria

Ferdinandeum, Innsbruck Austria

Galerie Lenbachhaus, Monaco di Baviera Germania

Guggenheim Collection, New York USA

Kunsthalle, Hamburg Germania

Kunstmuseum, Berna Svizzera

Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Svizzera

Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf Germania

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 Musee, Stoccolma Svezia

Mumok - Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Wien Austria

Museo di Capodimonte, Napoli Italia

Museum Ludwig, Colonia Germania

Museum University of Yale, New Haven USA

Nationalgalerie, Berlino Germania

Pio Monte della Misericordia, Napoli Italia

Rupertinum, Salisburgo Austria

Walker Kind Center, Minneapolis USA

Staatsgalerie Stuttgart Germania

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam Paesi Bassi

Tate Gallery, London, UK

Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven Paesi Bassi