Hermann Nitsch, born in Vienna in 1938, has been one of the major protagonists of international art since the second half of the twentieth century.
Maximum exponent of the Wiener Aktionismus, the movement that around the sixties represents (with Günter Brus, Otto Mühl and Rudolf Schwarzkogler) the maximum expressive tension of European Body Art.
Already from 1957-60, however, Nitsch elaborated his idea of Orgien Mysterien Theater (Theater of Orgies and Mysteries): experience of total art or Gesamtkunstwerk linked to the psychoanalytic concept of Abreaktion, or the emotional discharge that allows a subject to remove the effects of dramatic events.
The execution of orgiastic and onanistic acts together with the staging of sacrificial rites (with memories of pagan mysteries and Christian Passion) must allow cathartic liberation from religious, moralistic, sexual taboos.
Meanwhile, having graduated from the Vienna Experimental Graphic Institute, Nitsch paints in the context of tachisme: the movement that interprets the culture of the Informal enhancing the immediacy of the gesture that pours or splashes colors onto the canvas, even using hands directly.
From 1961 the actions intensified during which a lamb was torn apart, whose blood was used as a color.
Since 1962 a man has been involved as a passive actor who is “crucified” and covered in blood. Spectators / actors grew during the Sixties, the materials used (such as the innards of animals) and the scenic apparatuses multiplied.
The provocation is getting more and more pushed (and because of this in 1965 he is put in jail for 14 days), the circle of international relations widens, especially with Germany (Beuys, Vostell) and the United States (Kaprow, Fluxus group ).
In 1971 he bought the castle of Prinzendorf, 50 km from Vienna which became the seat of his das Orgien Mysterien Theater, whose actions followed one another starting from Pentecost Sunday in 1973.
In 1974 he came into contact in Naples with Peppe Morra and his Studio, he completed the 45th action for which he was expelled from Italy.
But in the same year Peppe Morra organized a monumental action in Düsseldorf, in Düsseldorf, lasting four days.
Studio Morra becomes its reference gallery and its editor: it publishes among other things its fundamental theoretical work, the O.M. Theater 2.
In 1977, his wife Beate died tragically, commemorating her with an action (the 56th) in the church of Santa Lucia in Bologna; the musical score of the Requiem is published by Morra.
In 1979 he moved for a period in Campania to a fisherman’s house near the archaeological area of Cuma, near Naples, where he had already been years before with Giuseppe Morra and his wife Beate.
The place is of great inspiration, ideal for setting a new action, “Cuma könig oidipus III.fest”.
The friend Peppe invites him to write the score; The work will be completed and published after eleven years (in 1988).
During the seventies and eighties, participation in major international exhibitions intensified, interventions in prestigious museums, conferences and musical performances.
In July 1984 his 80th action lasts three days and three nights (the complete score of the action will be published in the volume “Hermann Nitsch” published by Studio Morra in 1994, with texts by Achille Bonito Oliva, Jürgen Schilling, Angelo Trimarco, Libero De Cunzo, Vincenzo Trione, and of the same artist).
Since the 1990s, his exhibitions (personal and collective) with strong expressive energy have prevailed all over the world, in which Nitsch installs the wrecks, objects, installations, materials, large canvases, scores, graphic projects that have gave birth to his unique art experience, in which theater, painting, music, photography, video and performance merge.
The creation of the Hermann Nitsch Museum of Contemporary Art Archive in Naples to coincide with his seventieth birthday, thus takes on the meaning of a critical celebration of a personality that represents high-level tensions, problems and instances of contemporary society.