Herman Nitsch


The development of a young artist can be compared to the development of an embryo in the womb.

I have passed trough all the stages of artistic development, from scrawling up to learning the painting of old masters and impressionist release. I was very much influenced by expressionism and expressive art. Photography liberated painting from being portrait-like and opened the door to abstraction. I ended up at informalism and concrete art, concrete color ( color or paste, coloured liquid). The importance of performance art and happening, the literature in general – poetry, epics, and novels. Theatre has become another of my important and essential indicators. Once again, I became interested in everything, starting with the original forms of cult music up to Mozart, Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss, and Skriabin.

I have considered the second Vienna school, John Cage and sound expressions of performance art as important. Nietzsche showed me the way in philosophy. Absolute life optimism has never deserted me. The depth of the psychology of Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung taught me how to depict the creation of consciousness. I understood theatre as therapy, catharsis. The release of instincts met with the depth of music in an outcry, an ecstatic outcry and noise. As far as the late 1950s, I planned a cult existential festival celebrating life. Then and now I wanted to create a certain type of original drama like a mass, a form of worship that recapitulates our entire life.

My radical engagement in lyrics led me to realisation that speech as a symbol of my radical engagement in lyrics led me to the realisation that speech as a symbol of sense perception can no longer fulfil this role. I have introduced a true sensory feeling in my theatre. Participants in my play can smell the true scent of flowers. Now they can notice flavours. Liquids such as blood, petroleum, gasoline, urine, ammonia are poured on stage. Spectators get raw meat. Animals are disembowelled during the performance. Music is created in the form of shrieks and noises. All the senses are truly activated. Orgasmic sensual enjoyment is truly the aim.

Thus, the striving for all artistic work has been completed. Real actions touching all five senses. Stage and theatre premises were no longer necessary. A new perception of the art performance was created. My theatre of mysteries and orgies should become the greatest and deepest celebration of humanity. Celebration of life. The continuity of existence should be experienced trough one’s ecstasy.

DAS ORGIEN MYSTERIEN THEATER. / Danubiana / Meulesteen Art Museum


Prepared by Adam Csoka Keller
Categories: Art