The Early Years of Vienna Actionism 1960-1966
Viennese Actionism, a school of radical performance art, was intent on upending what it saw as the stultifying bourgeois art conventions of the postwar years. This was, of course, squarely in line with the performative paradigm of the late 20th-century avant-garde—a rereading of painting and sculpture as directly experiential. Four artists, Günter Brus, Hermann Nitsch, Otto Muehl and Rudolf Schwarzkogler, shocked polite gallery-goers across Europe with their radical actions and immensely physical, body-mutilating performances. They stretched the painted image to its “breaking point”—literally. In their mission to reanimate the arts, they replaced representation with a vehement devotion to sensual and directly perceptible materials: blood for Nitsch, junk and rubbish for Muehl, white paint sludge for Brus, and the deconstruction of the compositionally controlled image for Schwarzkogler. This catalog amasses examples of their painting and collage as well as original documentation of their radical “staged performances.”
Hardcover, 102 pages with 70 color, 8 2/3 x 11 inches, October 2014.