Hermann Nitsch – Mysterien-Malerei. Gemälde und Arbeiten auf Papier

Opening: September 25 | 6 – 9 pm
Circle Culture | Gipsstraße 11 | 10119 Berlin

Art Week Reception: September 29 | 5 – 7 pm
Hotel de Rome Berlin | Behrenstraße 37 | 10117 Berlin


Schüttbild, 2015, acrylic on jute, 200 x 150 cm, © Hermann Nitsch

On the occasion of this year’s Berlin Art Week, Circle Culture presents paintings and works on paper by Austrian painter and action artist Hermann Nitsch. The two-part exhibition will be on display in both Circle Culture, Gipsstraße 11 and Hotel de Rome Berlin, Behrenstraße 37, opening on different evenings at both venues. The artist, who celebrated his 80th birthday in August, will have his work acknowledged in several museum exhibitions as well as at Circle Culture this year.

The work by Hermann Nitsch (*1938 in Vienna) goes far beyond the medium of painting: it reveals itself as a dynamic Gesamtkunstwerk of painting, theatre, music and poetry, in which mythology, religion and philosophy merge into one Dionysian entity. For over 50 years, he has been writing art history with his actions, works and performances. Together with Günter Brus, Otto Mühl and Rudolf Schwarzkogler, he founded Viennese Actionism in the 1960s and pushed the boundaries of painting by using real bodies, objects and substances in space and time as artistic mediums. His impressive productions contributed to the early years of the Happening- and Performance Art movements.

The exhibition Mysterien-Malerei includes works from the past ten years. In this exhibition, Nitsch’s signature works ‚Schüttbilder‘, where the artist pours paint on the canvas and works on it with his hands, are shown alongside drawings, printed graphics and other works on paper. Nitsch’s informal painting shows a resemblance to Action Painting and Tachism. Due to the spontaneity of the painting action, his art embodies the unconscious and untamed and can be understood as an intense momentary experience. As in his performances, his paintings manifest a ritual of unconditional devotion and absolute dedication to life itself.

The works of Hermann Nitsch are represented in important collections around the world, e.g. at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Guggenheim Collection, New York; Metropolitan Museum, New York; Tate Gallery, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; National Gallery, Berlin; Lenbachhaus, Munich; Mumok, Vienna, as well as in two monographic museums in Mistelbach (AUT) and Naples (IT) and at the Nitsch Foundation in Vienna.

Additionally, Nitsch can be credited as having shaped the opera and theatre landscapes in German-speaking countries. He has designed several sets for the Vienna State Opera and his Orgien Mysterien Theater was performed in the Vienna Burgtheatre. Directors such as Christoph Schlingensief have been as much influenced by Hermann Nitsch as the artist Marina Abramovic. Nitsch lives and works at his castle in Prinzendorf an der Zaya, Lower Austria, that is a major venue for the annual performance of the Orgien Mysterien Theater games.