The starting point was a cellar in 1962 in the Viennese 20th district. There, Hermann Nitsch (born 1938), Otto Muehl (1925-2013) and Adolf Frohner immured themselves to get on with their first artistic orgy. They poured blood, used dead animals, excrements and junk. The bourgeois postwar Vienna was scandalized – and the Wiener Aktionismus (Viennese Actionism) born.

These happenings led Nitsch to the synthesis of his art: the Orgien Mysterien Theater. Using tradition, rituals and religion, he invented performances that the public was supposed to seize with all their senses. They smelt blood and flesh and they saw naked individuals crucify lamb carcasses, while they heard noise and screaming acts.

Kat. 872 – Malhemd, 1990

Kat. 873 – Schüttbild, 1983

Kat. 874 – Schüttbild, 2005

It was only in 1983 that Nitsch started painting more again. Still on to the synthesis of his art, he included – probably also in an homage to Klimts blue painting smock – the painting shirt into his work (Lot 872). Henceforth the artist understood himself as a priest who makes color and texture sensuously tangible. Nitsch harks back to the themes of his Orgien Mysterien Theater and throws its excess and explosion onto the canvas. In the so-called Schüttbilder (splatter paintings) he used dried blood from the animal carcasses utilized in his performances, and red color. Nitsch pours, throws, splatters, puts on liquid or pastose color with a brush or smears it on directly with his hands: his paintings stay forever anchored in his actionism and performance (Lot 873, 874).

These famous splatter paintings are brimming with the intense sensuous experience of Nitsch’s joyful smearing. The proof is to be savored at the Albertina Museum until August 11th 2019 in an important show celebrating the artists 80th birthday.

The opportunity, however, to enlarge one’s collection with important works by this artist will only be on one day at one place: Auctionhouse im Kinsky, June 18 2019, 3 pm.

Mag. Alexandra Markl is a lawyer and freelance journalist; a visit to the exhibition „New Art from Vienna“ 2002 in Massachusetts started her steadily increasing interest in art.