Exhibition Booklet


My Body is the Event
Vienna Actionism and
international Performance

6.3.– 23.8.2015 museum moderner kunst stiftung ludwig wien

My Body is the Event
Vienna Actionism and International Performance

In the 1960s, the desire for unmediated experience led artists to r­ eject established
­boundaries in all fields of artistic production. D ­ escriptive writing, illusionist theater,
and, in visual art, ­traditional forms of painting and sculpture were often ousted by
artists ­working “directly” with the physical body, objects, and substances in time
and space. The Wiener Gruppe, a loose group of experimental poets, along with the
Vienna Actionists, whose background was in painting, were at the forefront of these
developments in postwar Austria. In the words of Günter Brus: “My body is the inten-
tion. My body is the event. My body is the result.”
This exhibition presents the work of Austrian artists associated with these groups along
with major works of international performance art made at the same time and after,
among them pieces by ­Marina Abramović, Chris Burden, Tomislav Gotovac,
Ion ­Grigorescu, ­Natalia LL, Paul McCarthy, Ana Mendieta, Bruce Nauman, Yoko Ono,
Gina Pane, Neša Paripović, Ewa Partum, Carolee Schneemann, and VALIE EXPORT.
The juxtaposition of these various positions from d ­ ifferent places and contexts
enables one to see the shared ­impulses and artistic strategies of actionism and
performance art. These ­include the use of the body as a support for painting and an
­instrument with which to paint, as well as its role as an object of
analysis and a tool of sociopolitical protest.

Transgressing the borders of literature and music

In postwar Austria, the literary cabarets of the Wiener Gruppe in 1958 and 1959
marked a radical cut in the traditional understanding of literature, ­visual art, and music.
This loose group of experimental poets including Friedrich Achleitner, Konrad Bayer,
Gerhard Rühm, and Oswald Wiener announced them as “schlichte Begebenheit”—
“just things happening.” Oswald Wiener later ­categorised the various “numbers” that
made up these evenings as “chansons and poetry, polemics and happenings.”
In their rejection of what they considered an outdated concept of literature, these artists
did not want to describe reality or present it dramatically but to “exhibit” it in the form of
concrete events. Gerhard Rühm claimed that in this “new theater […] nothing is feigned,
nothing described, and nothing ­narrated. Everything is just as it happens, and it takes
place in the here and now.” At the beginning of the second cabaret, the performers on
the stage themselves played the part of the spectating audience. Through this unexpec-
ted parallel set-up in which performers and audience were each looking at the other,
the mechanisms of theatrical illusion were exposed and humorously broken down.
Music also played an important part in the course of these evenings. In one case, a
piano was smashed into pieces. The artists saw this not only as a d ­ adaistic gesture—
the destruction of the grand piano as an emblem of ­bourgeois culture and material
prosperity—but also as a way of making sounds in keeping with an expanded concept
of music. Piano destructions took place several times during the 1960s. At the opening
of Nam June Paik’s E ­ xhibition of Music in Wuppertal in 1963, Joseph Beuys hacked
one of Paik’s ­prepared pianos to pieces in an unannounced action. Paik’s exhibition,
at the p­ rivate ­residence of the gallerist Rolf Jährling, was an important manifestation
of ­experimental music in which various “instruments” were made available for v­ isitors to
generate sounds and noises.
The Vienna Actionists also cultivated forms of sound and noise production by uncon-
ventional means, as, for example, in Otto Muehl’s Luftballonkonzert (1964). In their
contributions to the Destruction in Art Symposium in London (1966), Muehl and Günter
Brus made sounds with their breathing as well as their voices. Other events they staged
in London set out to destroy ­language, such as Translation – Action for Two Voices, for
which Muehl pulled and squeezed someone’s face as he read aloud, doing so with
such force that his words dissolved into incomprehensible sounds.
Peter Weibel carried out an action as a critique of language not only at the D ­ estruction
in Art Symposium but also, soon afterward, at Aktionskonzert für Al Hansen in Vienna,
where he wrote a lecture on “non-affirmative art” on a ­t ypewriter with his eyes glued
shut. Otto Muehl then read out the jumble of letters.
A critical reflection on language as a system of signs and medium of c­ ommunication
also informs the works Active Poetry (1971) by the Polish artist Ewa Partum and
Sehtext: Fingergedicht (1968–73) by VALIE EXPORT. In both performances the
­constituent elements of language are not only made visible but turned into something
that can be experienced through the body. Partum took the letters of the alphabet from
texts by famous writers and threw them into nature. Using fingerspelling, EXPORT
wrote the sentence: “Ich sage die Zeige mit den Zeichen im Zeigen der Sage – frei
nach Heidegger” frei nach Heidegger” (I am saying the showing with signs showing the
saying—freely adapted from Heidegger).

The expansion of painting and sculpture

From the beginning, the Vienna actionists Günter Brus, Hermann Nitsch, and Rudolf
Schwarzkogler understood their work with the ­human body and a variety of objects
as an expanded form of painting, in which paint and pigment could be replaced by
other substances and items such as foodstuffs, blood, or animal corpses. Brus’s first
action Ana (1964) took place in a white room, where the white-painted bodies of the
artist and his wife themselves served as the canvas. Schwarzkogler, in his own first
action, poured paint on the bodies of various dead animals and objects as well as
on a bride wearing a white dress.
In the international context, Carolee Schneemann was among the ­artists who ex-
panded painting into performance. Her work Meat Joy (1964) can be compared
with part 4 of Otto Muehl’s Zock-Exercises ­(Michelangelo) (1967): male and female
bodies turn into living paint­brushes as they writhe around one another. Their bodies
become a support for painterly activities that take on a playful, pleasurable q ­ uality
through the flinging of paint. Paul McCarthy’s early actions, from the beginning of
the 1970s, were also forms of expanded painting. In Ma Bell (1971), the artist smears
glue and other ­materials into the pages of a telephone book to the accompaniment
of ­hysterical ­laughter. For Face Painting – Floor (1972) he pushed a paint bucket in
front of him, thus using his body to draw a line across a room.
Among the most famous examples of the expansion of painting into ­living sculpture
is the Wiener Spaziergang (1965) by Günter Brus. The artist, including his suit, was
painted white from head to toe, with his body divided into two halves by a black line.
He wanted to walk like this from Vienna’s Heldenplatz to Stephansplatz, but the police
forced him to terminate the action prematurely. In an emancipatory ­gesture of 1971,
Tomislav Gotovac walked through the city center of B ­ elgrade naked and called out
“I am innocent.” In 1977 Neša Paripović, dressed in a fashionable outfit, walked
through the same town along an imaginary line from the outskirts through the center,
going straight over any obstacles.
Otto Muehl’s actions are marked by an emphatically sculptural a ­ pproach; he often
sculpturally forms the human body by tying it with rope. In Günter Brus’s Strangulation
(1968), an action carried out ­together with his wife Anna, a rope is used to create an
interpersonal situation that is just as tense as it is disconcerting.

at times to the ­limits of endurance.The body as a medium of experience. thus reflecting on the ideals of beauty with regard to both the female body and art. while Yoko Ono’s Eye Blink (1966) focused on the eye’s simple movements. Nitsch. From this ­perspective. In Art Must Be Beautiful. If the body had previously been above all a sup- port for painting that expanded it into three-dimensional space and an instrument with which to paint. and tool of social protest Making works directly with the human body was a key aspect of ­Vienna Actionism and international action and performance art. In early works by Brus. object of analysis. war and violence played an important role in many performances. takes up the rituals of her home country in her performances. for ­example. The Vietnam War and media reports on the atrocities that took place during it were the triggers for many actions that combined a focus on sociopolitical problems with actual political protest. is a radical high point and end point at once. and in 1973 a naked ­VALIE ­EXPORT traversed a corridor made of electric wires in ­Hyperbulie. The intentional cutting into one’s own body not only brought its integrity into question but also functioned as a ­demonstration of sovereignty over the self and an extreme means of addressing ­social norms and stereotypes. Self-harming was one of the most radical forms of body analysis. One section of the exhibition considers art’s relationship to ­ritual practices. it now itself became an object of analysis. Zerreißprobe (1970). among other concerns. and Ion Grigorescu ­staged actions addressing childbirth as an aspect of women‘s lives. who. cut herself while wearing white as if for a wedding. . Günter Brus and Marina Abramović and Ulay concentrated on the act of breathing. Through consistent repetition. Artist Must Be Beautiful (1975) Marina Abramović aggressively brushed her hair until it hurt. Otto Muehl. His work is set in dialogue with Rudolf Schwarzkogler’s shamanistically ­inflected sixth action (1966) and works by the Cuban-born American artist Ana ­Mendieta. Especially in the time around May 1968. bringing artists into conflict with bourgeois ­society. and sex were handled in a confron- tational way. often in terms of their connection to sex and consumer culture. defecating. Gina Pane. in 1968 Brus went so far as to work with forms of actual physical wounds. Her- mann Nitsch’s Orgien Mysterien Theater takes up ­themes from various mythical or religious contexts and uses them to address the redemption scenarios associated with them. In the second half of the 1960s a shift happened in the way it was used. his last action. Even taboo ­bodily functions such as urinating. behavior that is a basic part of being ­human was brought into the realm of conscious experience. This was also true of their reflections on questions of ­gender: male artists such as Günter Brus. and Schwarzkogler it is already ­alluded to on the level of the symbolic image.

Marina Abramović 1946 Belgrade. was cut to just under 15 minutes in the video recording. Following the rhythm 1975 of this gesture she slowly and matter-of-factly repeats the phrase: “Art must be beautiful. a wine bottle. the end of the video. back on the floor. A table with a white tablecloth on the 1975 stage has a glass of honey. At the beginning the artist slowly and deliberately pulls a comb and brush through her Thomas Lips shoulder-length dark hair. . lets her head fall backward. a silver spoon. Abramović Courtesy Galerie Krinzinger. 1 hour. The act of screaming is something she does with 23 min 38 s her whole body: you see her stretching with all Performance for video. b/w. b/w. She Body. and a whip on it. Video transferred to DVD. Her aim was to liberate the body from all forms This performance lasted for nearly an hour. until she eventually hours. Vienna not only her voice but also her body and soul. Belgrade is a cross made of blocks of ice with a space Copyright Marina Abramović heater suspended above it.” Her movements and the way Photography Fritz Krinzinger she speaks build suspense in the scene as their Donation by Galerie Krinzinger Innsbruck 1979 intensity and velocity gradually increase. then drinks a liter of wine. sound. Copenhagen. Naked. On the floor at the Student Cultural Center. Charlottenburg her might and how her body reflexively contracts Art Festival. kneeling in front of the audience. Abramović carries out several acts that push both her and the audience to their Freeing the Voice limits. Abramović lies on her the wall. Making reference to Christian and pagan symbolism. tugs her head in unexpected directions. Toward Since then it has been performed several times. with her head tilted back so Artist must be beautiful far that she is looking headfirst into the camera. Serbia Art must be beautiful. her Museum in New York. 1975 Holding this position. The everyday hairbrush and comb turn into tools that This performance first took place in October cause pain. Then. she screams until she loses her voice. causing it to bleed. she frantically spits out the most recently in 2005 at the Guggenheim phrases of text and her voice is worn out. Abramović mauls her face and hair. which of energy until nothing but emptiness remained. A chair is set in front of them. which happens only after three hours. Vienna goes onto the stage and first eats a kilogram of honey. where it lasted for seven eyes closed in exhaustion. Denmark as she breathes in. She understands the Copyright Marina Abramović physically exhausting procedure as about freeing Courtesy Galerie Krinzinger. 1975 at the Galerie Krinzinger in Innsbruck. and breaks Alongside Freeing the Memory and Freeing the the glass with her hand. Video transferred to DVD. a man in Video documentation of the 3 hour performance whom the artist desired at the time. a crystal glass. artist Color photographs must be beautiful. Freeing the Voice is one of a series of paints a pentagram over the photo of the man on performances from 1975. A small photograph 35 min 26 s of Thomas Lips hangs on the wall. sound.

Breathing out. Student Cultural for the heater to melt the ice. Abramović and Ulay performed a reversed version. b/w. 1990) . I could never do this alone. Breathing in at the Stedelijk Museum. her bleeding stomach under the space heater. It was originally meant to last 22 minutes. I wanted to experience these limits together with the public. 10 min 49 s She had planned to lie down as long as it took Performance. Several months later. In front of an audience in the Student Cultural Center in Belgrade Abramović and Ulay kneel across from one another and press their lips together as if in a kiss. who was her partner at the time. it contains less and less oxygen. In line with 1977 Christian penance rituals she whips herself and then lies down on the cross of ice blocks. Vienna member of the audience.” (Marina Abramović. They have microphones attached to their throats and emit sounds reflecting the increasing strain their bodies are under until the two performers end the performance after an epic struggle. Amsterdam. Since this means each of them only breathes in the air breathed out by the other. “I was never interested in shocking. Serbia 1943 Solingen. and the artist was carried off the stage. What I was interested in was experiencing the physical and mental limits of the human body and mind. They have plugged their noses with cigarette filters. Germany she carves the same shape into the skin around Breathing in – Breathing out her stomach using a razor blade. Marina Abramović und Ulay 1946 Belgrade. Belgrade thirty minutes the performance came to an Copyright Marina Abramović abrupt end after an interjection by a concerned Courtesy Galerie Krinzinger. sound. but after about Center. Breathing in – Breathing out is one of the collaborative performances staged between 1976 and 1988 by Marina Abramović and the performance artist Ulay. 19 minutes. with Video transferred to DVD.

He smears movements. sound. The painted white to create an action space in music that Beuys commissioned from the Fluxus keeping with the white ground of a painting artist Henning Christiansen was added to the surface. into the he pours. he has wrapped white sheets around his In the middle of the gallery Beuys has installed body. While evoking a shamanistic rite. . and squeezes some fat into making his body itself. and Rudolf everything the artist did was “in the picture” Schwarzkogler were among the members of the in a literal sense. In the opening sequence audience. frees himself from them with convulsive marking out a space within the space.“ In these surroundings. B/w photographs 22 min 46 s Photography Siegfried Klein (Khasaq) Fragment 20 min Prints 2011 Film Joseph Beuys and Henning Christiansen Acquired with support of Fiebinger Polak Camera Paul de Fru Leon Rechtsanwälte. Stephan in dimensional space. “ultimately it is a film at a later date. and all the objects in it. Germany Eurasienstab. A room. Günter Brus. which animal fat onto a chest of drawers. into a painting surface. alluding to the painterly canvas.Joseph Beuys Günter Brus 1921 Krefeld. Vienna. that he carries through the room. The action first took place classic white canvas expanded into three- in 1967 at the Galerie Nächst St. Austria 1986 Düsseldorf. Through the medium of the artist. Vienna 2012 Music Henning Christiansen Günter Brus’s first action took place in Otto This film shows a small part of the action Muehl’s apartment. the room. He laces a snowshoe—a wife Anna. its spiritual energy is intended to contribute to their brotherly unity. As Brus put it. sprays. in time with the music. was White Space gallery in Antwerp in 1968. Germany – 1938 Ardning. and smears as a way of corners of the room. Hermann Nitsch. as well as that of his the hollow of his knee. as they all become the The action is named after the long copper staff basis for an informal abstract painting. Curved at the top. Later he takes black paint. in all four cardinal directions in the manner of a liturgical ritual. Beuys’s action is a critical response to the Cold War: The Eurasienstab symbolizes the connection between the cultures of East and West. together with his wife Anna and named it which Joseph Beuys had staged in the Wide after her. He carried out the action Eurasienstab 82 min fluxorum organum op. Fluxus organum opus 39 Ana 1968 1964 16mm film transferred to DVD. and long felt brackets from the floor to the ceiling. b/w. and all the objects in it metal plate with foot straps—onto his right foot. 39. The previous year Beuys had founded the “free democratic socialist state ‘Eurasia’.” which he saw as representing a connection and reciprocity between democracy and socialism. the staff brings to mind the shape of a bishop’s crosier.

motionless. domestic handiwork. irregular vertical line ran from woman who is preparing for motherhood with his front right leg across his torso. This event in Vienna’s town Pullover features the artist’s wife Anna Brus. Einatmen und Ausatmen (Breathing In and Out) shows the artist naked from the waist up. he starts blowing up a white asking him for proof of his identity and to follow balloon between his thighs. b/w. Günter Brus symbol­ his body into two halves. After it wasn’t long until a policeman stopped him. It was made in March 1967. 2 min (Osmose). which has often been ically enacts giving birth. With her arms bent. subsequently fined for offending public decency. We see her naked body from her closed the artist had painted himself white from head to mouth down to approximately the first third of toe. she is holding white ground of a canvas was thus transferred two knitting needles in front of her breasts to the artist’s body. half a minute. To the left of his belly button two pieces of sticky tape create a fold in the skin by pulling it together. Osmose. A black. get into a taxi. curious bystanders and in the company of his arms bent. b/w. action in public. After that. head. been quasi neutralized by being completely The walk began at Heldenplatz. folded on his belly. He crouches. which thus became a living and knitting: a timeless cliché of the pregnant picture. White rope Palace and through the Michaelertor. and skin. who took photographs as well as filming The walls and the floor are also painted a the event with a Super-8 camera. Under the gaze of in the corner of a room with his eyes closed. including his suit. shortly friends. silent. friends. Brus had to abandon his a few seconds but then slowly loses air. are cropped out of the picture. His naked body has interpreted as a metaphor for a split personality. 16mm film transferred to DVD. simulating an opening in the body or a . back. performance in a gallery. links Brus’s hands and feet to his neck. Brus walked uniform white. He was doesn’t move until the scene fades to black. and drive home. 1 min 50 s 2 min 40 s (Pullover). and legs tucked beneath him.Wiener Spaziergang Pullover. Brus action. it was the first time he performed an before the birth of his daughter Diana. got out of a Citroën 2CV. As in earlier actions. where the artist painted in white. The her belly. hair. It divided In Osmose (Osmosis). The shot extends from his chest to below the belly button. and left leg down again to his shoes. This trilogy of films by Günter Brus revolves Günter Brus’s actions had taken place in artist’s around the themes of motherhood and giving studios and with an audience exclusively of birth. silent. shoes. Film Otto Muehl. It remains full for him to the precinct. his arms. The scene is shot from above through the inner courtyard of the Hofburg with a fixed camera in close-up. Rudolf Schwarzkogler 2 min 3 s (Einatmen und Ausatmen) With permission of the artist 2010 Camera Helmut Kronberger Before Wiener Spaziergang (Vienna Walk). Einatmen und Ausatmen 1965 1967 8mm film transferred to DVD. center took place the evening before Brus’s first who was at the time eight months pregnant.

At the beginning he is lying on the pours through the mail slot and down the inside ground in a fetal position. he asked He had been invited by architecture students. shocking and pathological. In his last action. his wife Anna which was titled Strangulation. titled correspond with Brus’s wishes and preparatory Zerreißprobe (Breaking Test). He climbs up the door and suspends of the action. In subsequent parts legs apart. The action conveys moments of intimacy as way that the cultural norms of conventional well as domination and violence. out an action for this film on his own. 5 min 30 s B/w photographs Film Hans-Christof Stenzel und Rosemarie Photography Henning Wolters Stenzel-Quast Prints 2005 und 2015 With Anna Brus Donation of the artist 2006 Copyright Konzett Gallery © Zentralarchiv des internationalen Kunsthandels. through his shirt. sets her in front of it. He then waits before finally deliberate and reduced but nonetheless very reaching down with his hands and touching his powerful gestures. the camera is directed takes place in a circular arena formed by the onto an empty hallway painted white. and leans her against the door with her and spits it out again. Pullover. In particular. In Brus is wearing normal clothes and the action their apartment in Vienna. He thus transforms . Brus drags his fully tied-up a plate with an egg that has been cracked wife to the door. für Aachen: 1968 „Die Architektur des hellen Wahnsinns“ 1968 16mm film transferred to DVD. for a second version to be made together with which he references in the work’s title. unties her open. After Brus had carried the Rhenish-Westphalian Technical University. “self-mutilation actions” into that of a confident All three scenes were shot by Günter body representing freedom from and rebellion Kronberger with a fixed camera directly fram­ against cultural and political repression through ing the action. b/w. For two and a half minutes we watch the image of himself as an emblem of human the rhythmic rising and falling of his chest as suffering that he had embodied in his early he breathes. Köln Strangulation was created in the context of the film project Die Blumen des Bösen (Fleurs du Günter Brus carried out this action in the Reiff. He sucks it up with convulsive gestures legs. Brus would have liked would be brought to almost to the point of self- a clearer view of his wife’s pregnant belly in destruction. Strangulation „Der helle Wahnsinn“. With such down head first.wound. mal) by Hans-Christof Stenzel and Rosemarie Museum in Aachen—a building belonging to Stenzel-Quast in 1968. he exposes his body in a wife. in front of him is of the front door. this development sketches. A liquid viewers. The cropping did not exactly a kind of self-therapy. It came to an behavior would read as somewhere between end through an intervention by Anna Brus. he urinates in a bucket and himself with slings behind his knees before uses a razor blade to give himself a bloody gradually leaning back to let his body hang cut in the chest. Sound.

Zerreißprobe glass?”—that offset the extreme psychic tension. It was the last and most radical of Günter Brus’s actions. that determines the atmosphere in the room. There is a cut on his thigh. he throws himself to the ground and then rolls around jerkily. At the beginning of the Zerreißprobe Brus kneels on a white cloth on the floor. After this. again as if having catatonic seizures. Then he pulls a thread through the cut in his leg and urinates on the wound. For a while he lies there on his front. dressed in panties. He wets his hand with water and then throws himself to the ground as if he were having a seizure. sound. restrictions. Various utensils are next to him. which is blue due to substances he had ingested previously. He ties his ankles together. The artist subjects his body to extreme stress and pain. During the course of the action Brus consciously and deliberately speaks “practically banal” sentences— such as “Can somebody shut the window?” or “Could someone pass me a . and makes a cut into the back of his shaved head with a razor blade. which makes blood run down his back. His body is dirty and bloodstained when he finally leaves the room. color. and nylon stockings. Then he cuts up his clothing and drinks his own urine. 1970 on behalf of both performer and audience. pulls his legs apart. Afterward he tries to walk forwards while his legs are in metal tubs filled with water. and torture-like situations. 16mm film transferred to DVD. suspenders. going all the way to the edge of self-destruction. he stopped doing actions and turned to the medium of drawing to continue his investigations into the human body and its subjugation by social constraints. 15 min 07 s Film Werner Schulz Acquired with support of the Society of the Friends of Fine Arts Vienna 2009 This “stress test” took place in public in the Aktionsraum 1 in Munich in 1970.

Or they crawl across the floor while B/w photographs various substances are thrown onto them. ideological. as when throwing various noise. In Günter Brus’s action Head Destruction.” It is also B/w photographs recommended that guests bring “2 kg flour per Photography Ludwig Hoffenreich person to mix into the big vat of vietcong-dough Prints 2000 and various foodstuffs that are suitable for the Acquired 2003 artistic depiction of torture and cruelty: curd cheese. part of our reality. chest-arm-leg-belly 1966 bandages. The invitation states “costumes also starts off with text and speech and ends up compulsory” and offers suggestions. cocoa powder.” Günter party is fundamentally different from the usual Brus. prosthetic limbs. Hermann Nitsch and Peter useless demonstrations against the war in Weibel as well as the experimental filmmaker vietnam. London an explicit protest against the war in Vietnam Photography Hanns Sohm than a commentary about the principles of Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. among with bodily actions.” Günter Brus and Otto Muehl reacted to the political situation of the time by acting out scenes of war. In Translation – Action for Two interest in interacting with the audience. Juan Hidalgo read a guidebook while may fundamentally remain spectators. For example.Günter Brus / Otto Muehl 1938 Ardning. corsets. Realized as part of the Destruction in Art What the two artists formulated here was less Symposium. Or Brus sits on a 1966 swing and threatens a girl whom they then both look after. which may not be entirely met John Lennon around this time in London. bodices. splints. they sit at a table. but Muehl kept noisily interrupting him and finally the invited guests had been asked to come in resorts to applying his fingers to Hidalgo’s mouth costume and to take on the role of performers and face so that his speaking dissolves into with small parts. The vietnam-party […] uses various Kurt Kren all took part in the symposium. Otto Muehl. which took place in Muehl’s emphasizing a destructive approach to language basement studio in the Perinetgasse in Vienna.” Brus and Muehl carried out actions in London The action. financial. © Archiv Sohm political reality: a statement addressing the propensity to violence fundamental to human The Destruction in Art Symposium took place in nature and a disillusioned questioning of the September 1966 in London. by means of moving and manipulating the is an early example of Muehl’s increasing human body. plaster casts. jams. and juices of all In their collaborative action Vietnam-Party. “our vietnam meeting of international “action artists. Translation – Action for Two Voices smoking and eating. the slaughtering of people Among the people the Actionists met were for political. head restraints. It was an important effectiveness of political protest. where Muehl applies a Head Destruction bandage to Brus’s head. which materials in order to directly represent. materials. or Fluxus artists Al Hansen and Yoko Ono. Portugal them “bloody ketchup wound bandages (muslin Vietnamparty bandages). who first religious reasons. The artist began by reading . Austria – 2013 Moncarapacho. Austria 1925 Grodnau. head bandages. moral. kinds. They Voices. meaningless for people who think. as made Vienna Actionism internationally known.

rather than seeing such a scene only on television or in the cinema. then chewed up and 1971 swallowed the piece of paper. the customary linguistic and vocal range and The artist asked a friend to shoot him in the include the entire They go far beyond the arm with a pistol from approximately 4.5 meters customary linguistic and vocal range and away. until 1971–74 he fell backward. Only when they had recovered from their shock did they understand that Burden had actually been hit. He then started Shoot stuttering more and more. MA. Afterwards he took a bag filled with paper that was lying on DVD. onto the floor. With kind permission of the artist The Breath Exercises were something that Acquired in 2015 Muehl and Brus came up with on the spur of the moment. audience was present and spectators could follow. They go far beyond same time his most notorious performance. The bullet went straight through. the work uses the voice as a Shoot is Chris Burden’s best known and at the noise-production machine. sound. 2 min 20 s From Documentation of Selected Works 1971–74 With kind permission of the artist Acquired in 2015 This short film is one of a series that Chris Burden created as television advertisements. The ten-second-long scene was made in order to be broadcast four to five times a week for . Through the Night Softly 1973 DVD. Chris Burden 1946 Boston. screaming. harder and harder. 1 min 45 s the table in front of him and hit himself on the From Documentation of Selected Works head with it repeatedly. Burden’s performance is not only an engage­ ment with the representation of violence in the media but also with the way he understood his role as an artist: an artist who voluntarily puts himself in mortal danger and lets someone shoot at him is one who wants to be taken seriously. b/w. what the violent wounding of a human being means. b/w. USA a text on a sheet of paper. live. An include the entire body as a source of sound. as they otherwise would. sound.

writing. clearly with great effort. 2. The thematization of various forms of language. moreover. “frei nach Heidegger” (freely adapted from Heidegger). They are announced in inter-titles along with the sensory experience she associates with them: 1. b/w. VALIE EXPORT 1940 Linz. Touching— with hands on glass. or the making-visible of language are important aspects of her work. 6 min 21 s Camera Hermann Hendrich Acquired with support of BKA. 3. sound. of a handwritten text: “Ich sage die Zeige mit den Zeichen im Zeigen der Sage” (I am saying the showing with signs showing the saying) as well as the explanatory gloss. Boxing. 2011 While the title may prompt one to think of a romantic scene. speech. Sektion Kunst this medium. Reading Heidegger was important to EXPORT in particular in connection with her exploration of the various possible meanings of things that can be expressed in language and through physical gestures. whether body language. Body Tape 1970 Video transferred to DVD. silent. Feeling— . bust portrait pose. The artist had 1968–73 to buy airtime for this project and wanted to break the dominant position of commercial Video transferred to DVD. Austria a month in a regular television ad slot on the Sehtext: Fingergedicht KHS-9 channel in Los Angeles. the artist stands in front of a The violence and distress that makes the scene neutral background and writes a sentence with so charged is intensified yet further when the her hands in fingerspelling. strewed close-up. the camera traces the capital letters with shards of glass. In across the street—which is. to crawl video reveals the content of the sentence. the film itself shows Burden This video is an expanded version of a work wearing only underpants and lying on the made by VALIE EXPORT in 1968. Sektion Kunst 2011 VALIE EXPORT carries out seven basic actions with a pane of glass. The last third of the artist begins. Shot in a ground with his arms tied behind his back. b/w. 1 min 20 s broadcasting by inserting his own films into Acquired with support of BKA.

the bird and the imprints remain. 4. The sheet of glass thus becomes an Video transferred to DVD. The camera animal that obeys the demands of a plan—a turns to the dark floor around the platform.” with her mouth in order to cut her body parts free of the wax. She holds still to try to reach the state of free self-expression until the wax has dried. In EXPORT’s words.face on glass. wax (symbol of lifelessness). She slowly sinks closer and closer to the 7 min 12 s ground. and one the work’s title has been written in chalk. After a cut in the video. and sometimes deliberately. Pushing—hitting 1973 pane of glass with head. Only a reckless next sequence the artist crouches in front of the effort of the will to overcome the pain that itself puddle of wax and pours heated wax first onto stands at the center of our society enables one her feet and then onto her hands. She gets off the platform. in which She holds a live budgerigar. VALIE ASEMIE .] 2011 accept the challenge and. to which she ties a painful barriers break all human energy into piece of string. Society is a closed. Hyperbulie 5.. Walking—feet on glass. sound.. „the tension between the materials: bird (symbol of fantasy and freedom). While she walks 1973 through it she continually. where plan that causes it to break down. Hearing—ear on glass. and […] the tension between the forms (movement and rigidity) [demonstrate] the tragedy of human self-representation.. In the whose purpose it never knows.” . Then she picks up a knife (free-flowing energy). we see many parts and strictly regulate it. Acquired with support of BKA. wires. 7. 6. Sektion Kunst In VALIE EXPORT’s words: “Human beings [. b/w. naked on a platform covered with a white cloth. human being [. sound. Sektion Kunst and meaning of the filmic image is illustrated in a 2011 figurative sense. b/w. Tasting—tongue on glass. through a somewhat pathological increase in willpower. comes into painful contact with the Video transferred to DVD. so that the the bird lying motionless as she pours hot. and human being. 6 min interface between reality and mediated image—a 25 s projection surface where the behavior described Camera Hermann Hendrich takes place literally. sich durch EXPORT is naked and steps into a corridor of Mienenspiel ausdrücken zu können wires carrying live electricity. until she finally leaves the corridor on Camera Kurt Talos all fours. press their In this controversial action. VALIE EXPORT kneels heads against the wires again and again. dark.die Unfähigkeit. Hyperbulie (hyperbulia) is the medical term for a pathological increase in willpower. while the scope of action Acquired with support of BKA. structured space.] becomes a domesticated colored wax onto it from a bucket..

Slowly she dips her fingers into a glass bowl that is DVD. In Dressed in jeans and a black sweater. Tonguings 1973 1970 DVD. They were patients at the mental hospital the tongue. Sektion Kunst Fox made a number of early filmic works that 2011 investigated simple bodily actions in relation to their ritualistic and symbolic content. There big influence on American public opinion about thus exists a mental para-time running parallel the Vietnam War.” and as a way of releasing him from his feelings .Remote.. with which Turgescent Sex she starts cutting the cuticles on her fingers. Again she manages to alleviate the pain by bathing her This work was created in response to the 1968 fingers in milk and then she sticks her finger into massacre of 504 unarmed civilians by US her mouth. A large black and in extreme close-up. he white photo of two children is hanging behind demonstrates various positions of the lips and her. In rapid succession. The war crime was first covered up. and “ineducable” children meanings in various registers including and teenagers were subjected to medical absurdity. year by all media outlets. Its publication had a no matter how long ago these took place. murdered.. of the incapability to overcome. Germany . 21 min 23 s 16mm film transferred to DVD. Terry Fox 1943 Seattle.. exercise an of his own powerlessness to change anything ongoing effect. The artist looks into the camera.Remote. nevertheless suggests a variety of contradictory mentally disabled. then the photograph is all one sees. b/w. Köln She digs deeper under the skin until she starts Courtesy Galerie Krinzinger. Under the Nazi regime. Acquired in 2014 Sound. In the next shot. WA. the mouths of the Army soldiers in the South Vietnamese village children fill the screen. and experimentation here.. Vienna bleeding more and more heavily.. sexual provocation. it herself until there is a cut in the film and she only became public knowledge thanks to the disappears. VALIE Tonguings his mouth and tongue are shown EXPORT is sitting on a chair. © Estate Terry Fox. silent. 1971 A close-up shot reveals the bloody cuts. She continues cutting Mỹ Lai. the artist Terry Acquired with support of BKA. on the premises of the Viennese The restrictive set-up limits the possibilities for psychiatric hospital Am Steinhof (today the Otto physical and narrative expression. 36 min filled with milk and wedged between her knees.. USA – 2008 Cologne. ill. 9 min 49 s Camera Didi Based on the US West Coast. color. close- ups show us her eyes and those of the children. b/w. a ritual that Terry Fox carried out in recognition deformations that tear open the skin. to objective time. which is moved in all possible for children at the children’s specialist unit Am directions and thus affects the shape of the lips. whose In the artist’s words: “Human behavior is reportage was initially rejected for around a influenced by events that happened in the past. investigative journalist Seymour Hersh. She has a utility knife in her hand. where the prayers of fear Turgescent Sex is a political protest by means of and of guilt. eroticism. many of them were vulgarity. Spiegelgrund. but the work Wagner hospital). sound.

Revealing all of all these bonds. releasing the fish from suggests a dramatic narrative. and—it as an object. although the short fragment myself and untie them. 37 s for me. […] And then taking originally part of Lazar Stojanović’s film Plasticni the bonds and making a nest out of them and Isus (Plastik Jesus). direct involvement Sound. a release from guilt. It was […] extricate yourself. in which Gotovac played a putting the fish in it. through the town center of Belgrade. Tomislav Gotovac 1937 Sombor. working closely with the director. he then 1971 burns it on a symbolic funeral pyre. and then blowing smoke over it—it was like—it was just like a release. “Turgescent Sex […] was meant to be a 16mm film transferred to DVD.” (Terry Fox) . he releases a dead fish Streaking in the Center of the City that is entangled in a knotted rope. So I tied the fish up in all while shouting “I am innocent!” The scenario these knots. unprecedented provocation. There were hundreds and In 1971 the artist Tomislav Gotovac ran naked hundreds of knots constricting this fish. Croatia of guilt. […] I wanted to one sees the artist running past a policeman release my guilt. The scene seems like something was like the whole system. So. and Film Lazar Stojanovic identifying with the Vietnamese people. considering myself as a victim. b/w. political piece. But nothing was working. putting it in the nest. the whole war was done out of desperation. you could go out in the street and get in the Yugoslavia of the time this was an shot. Serbia – 2010 Zagreb. Blindfolded. as the artist defies the like that—it was so complex and hard to—to repressive order of an authoritarian state. It was a real. Courtesy Sarah Gotovac | Tomislav Gotovac and also considering myself as guilty. In this brief shot. and wrapping the fish up leading role. the war. and my release was to blindfold seems unreal. or you could protest and sign petitions. […] if I got the strands mixed himself. Zagreb fish represented the Vietnamese and also represented me. If streakers what can you do? You can‘t do anything about are familiar from large sporting events today. with the blindfold. The Institute. the artist presents his defenseless body up the whole thing formed another knot.

possible meanings through the gaze of the Berlin camera. b/w. Similar In Male and Female the artist observes his ideas emerge in the context of the twentieth own naked body in all possible positions with century. The way of Bucharest. the transparent form of the artist making facial expressions that fall a shell. The focus on the human face recalls the “character heads” of the Austrian baroque B/w photographs sculptor Franz Xaver Messerschmidt. his context and surroundings.” everywhere from extremely expressive to comic. viewer by showing him various architectural Berlin forms with a pronounced feminine or masculine aspect. and his artistic practice under Grigorescu looks at his own face in the water a totalitarian regime with its restrictions and brings to mind the myth of Narcissus. Interspersed among these excessive 1975 observations of his own body we again and again see views of Bucharest. which were very to discover. In his words: “I was trying theories of Jacques Lacan. He poses on the desk or on the floor between two mirrors in his studio and living . in love with his own watery reflection. a mirror. Shirtless. a round. Romania Grimaces/Mimics quarters. silent. he 16mm film transferred to DVD. by moving the camera over the popular in the 1970s. This 12 min 46 s everyday occurrence is imbued with various Courtesy the artist and Galerija Gregor Podnar. architectural B/w photographs details that he sees as having either male or Prints 2011 female connotations: “I was trying to help the Courtesy the artist and Galerija Gregor Podnar. or This series shows close-ups of six views of a glass-roofed porch. is washing his face in bowl set on a stool. For example. Prints 2014 Courtesy the artist and Galerija Gregor Podnar. The way the water is handled invites associations with John Cage’s performances: Grigorescu’s works are based in the artist’s the American pioneer of an expanded concept own life. Berlin Male and Female 1976 The artist stands in front of a kind of stage set that looks like a storage cupboard. for example in the psychoanalytic a handheld camera.Ion Grigorescu 1945 Bucharest. The strong contrast of black and white in the images almost makes caricatures of the facial Washing the Face expressions accompanying various mental 1976 states. the artist gesticulates and takes on performative poses in front of his own reflected image. who falls utopias. the city of music had made sound with water.” Doubled in them. According to Lacan. which are the details that first encounter infants have with their own ego give the viewer the certainty of being face is in seeing their reflection mirrored back at to face with a man or a woman. open window. the surface of the body.

the In this series of photographs. Hermann Nitsch. in part in the as a critical response to the power-hungry latter’s studio.” This included the use of electroacoustic techniques as well as the integration of non-European music as well as speech. Austria Delivery/Birth Karmadharmadrama 1977 performed in 1967 Color photographs B/w photographs Prints 2014 Prints 2015 Courtesy the artist and Galerija Gregor Podnar. Anesthis Logothetis 1921 Burgas. the camera shows parts Muehl to participate in Muehl. . Zein collection/exhibition copy Berlin In 1962. state Nicolae Ceaușescu. the head of using the movements of the body. Muehl in particular was in dialogue with Grigorescu’s performance has also been seen Logothetis and carried out actions. The process of giving birth sound compositions were also later performed can be understood in a political sense as well: in the context of actions by Muehl and Nitsch. in which he created noise music “deliverer” of the political system. In using language as an audio material in his compositions. His the newborn baby. even and turned them into a noise composition. of his naked body from various perspectives. He A baked pastry. in the particular context of Romania at the time. Works such as the Chor der Puppen in the Pataphysik part of the Karmadharmadrama—a passage made almost only of individual letters of the alphabet— link back to techniques used by Dadaist artists such as Kurt Schwitters. braided into something recorded fragments of the artists’ speech and resembling a knot. He sits on Logothetis had already been invited by Otto a chair in a dark room. In November 1967 Muehl and members of his Direct Art Group participated in a performance of Logothetis’s piece Karmadharmadrama in the Galerie nächst St. functions as a prop that sounds of their breaking things and drumming stands in for ovaries. the umbilical cord. Logothetis undid its syntactic structure. the artist stages a Vienna-based avant-garde musician Anesthis simulation of the act of giving birth. Bulgaria –1994 Vienna. several years before this work. working with individual linguistic elements such as permutations of sound and content. Stephan. and Adolf Frohner’s studio session Blutorgel. Logothetis had since the late 1950s reached a point where he was expanding the range of sonic experience by working with noise and other “real sounds.

Most of the video­tapes in of a kind of mad persona and insane painting. as particularly intense deployment of the body. You only see me works. b/w.” the beginning were very minimal. a mixture of paint and motor oil. and while pouring various substances onto each deliberate malice. His laughter then abruptly turns to silence head bumps into the opposite wall.Paul McCarthy 1945 Salt Lake City. and performances book. The performance ends when his pages. 2 min 01 s laugh this hysterical laugh and it became way Acquired 2005 more performative. faster and faster somewhat new. b/w. but pounding on the pages and Spinning is one of Paul McCarthy’s first filmic laughing this insane laugh. he uses it as if it were a materials starting to ooze out from between the paintbrush. installations. I wasn’t just covering the book with oil. was spinning in an enclosed space. the artist begins didn’t see my face. “Something critical happened: I started to Video transferred to DVD. Edit #1 an entire floor of the building in which he was 1970 working at the time to store telephone books. In all of them. That you several versions. 7 min 06 s Acquired 2005 Paul McCarthy is one of the artists from the West Coast of the USA whose work is thematically In this expanded painting performance Paul connected to Vienna Actionism. sound. The well as cotton wool. In other videos the persona In the artist’s words: “I would be in a room and usually starts with a mask or involves covering start rocking and then I sort of intuitively started the face and head. It’s one of the first pieces where all the way to the limits of physical endurance. and all you can hear is the sound of the street and pages being turned. White Line 1972 Ma Bell 1971 Video transferred to DVD. His paintings. question social taboos with wit. a persona happens. or they were task oriented. UT. This kind of informal painting artist lies on his front on the floor. b/w. I tried to get up to thirty minutes and is the persona. holding a pot becomes more and more frenetic as his humming of white paint in his hands with outstretched intensifies into hysterical laughter and the book arms. 6 min 22 s Acquired 2005 Video transferred to DVD. just me spinning (McCarthy) or rolling on the floor. while functioning through a spread: flour. irony. sound. one action repeated over and over. His own violent pounding on the book room in the puddle of paint and thus his body also plays a not insignificant role in the sludge of leaves a white trace. sound. The pot is tilted slightly so that a steady bears less and less resemblance to its original pour of paint comes out. McCarthy kneels in front of an open telephone sculptures. He slides through the shape. The idea of working with a telephone book came to McCarthy when he discovered that the city administration was using . USA Spinning. “ Face Painting-Floor. […] It became the expression then an hour of spinning. It documents a performance that exists in from the neck down in this video. the face of the artist. He hums happily as he leafs through it. But in Ma Bell the laughter spinning.

New York Anna Mendieta was enrolled in Hans Breder’s innovative Intermedia Art course at the University of Iowa when she carried out the performance Untitled (Chicken Piece). Having overcome her initial disgust. 4 min 40 s Courtesy The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection and Galerie Lelong. She already had a degree in art with a focus on painting.Ana Mendieta 1948 Havana. New York The camera is focused on the artist’s head as she remains quiet and motionless. silent. silent. she holds a chicken in front of her that Breder had just killed and carries on holding it as it bleeds out. this produces a painterly effect that brings to mind the work of the Abstract Expressionists. Cuba – 1985 New York. NY. Sweating Blood 1973 Super-8mm film transferred to DVD. to be magic. with . 6 min Courtesy The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection and Galerie Lelong.” One of her first performances executed that year combined the Afro-Caribbean rituals of her native Cuba with the ritualized acts similar to those of the Vienna Actionists. for example in Rudolf Schwarzkogler’s work. naked. She described the year 1972 as a turning point in her art: “… when I realized that my paintings were not real enough for what I want the image to convey and by real I mean I wanted my images to have power. USA Chicken Piece (Chicken Movie) 1972 Super-8mm film transferred to DVD. color. color. On one level. Mendieta stands in front of a white wall. The blood spurts out of its twitching corpse onto her body and the white wall behind her.

In his Materialaktion Nr. it was the first time he did something in public in the context of Vienna Actionism. New York Afterward. of a wall with her back to the camera. and Galerie Lelong. . The work is one of several of Muehl’s actions that engage with an expanded concept of music. 7 (Material Action No. A woman wearing only panties Body Tracks (or There is a Devil Inside me is wrapped tightly in a garden hose and rope. Otto Muehl simulates the process of giving birth. Austria – 2013 Moncarapacho. In it she Materialaktion Nr. Acquired 2003 Muehl’s Materialaktion Nr.” The picture on the wall becomes a kind of portrait. with blood and begins to draw a line with it. 7. 13 (Material Action No. [Blood Sign]) which the artist described to his audience 1974 after the performance as a metaphorical representation of veins and arteries. trickling onto her face. 13) was carried out in October 1964. Nabelschnur - After some time blood begins to drip from Darstellung einer Geburt the crown of her head. equipped with a plastic bag. color.” 1964 with particular emphasis on the “me. Rudolf Schwarzkogler took part. representing the silent. 1964 Since the beginning Mendieta used blood in her performances. In this way she draws a simple outline around her body. the artist stands directly in front the balloon before piercing it with a sharp knife.” with so-called Prints 2000 primitive rituals in which blood is associated With Rudolf Schwarzkogler et al. Muehl then applies egg yolks and wheat flour to Fully clothed. working up from the ground. Materialaktion Nr. Muehl paints her body. Luftballonkonzert writes the sentence: “There is a Devil inside me. 7). She is Super-8mm film transferred to DVD. with fertility and healing. Mendieta B/w photographs layers themes such as Catholicism and the Photography Ludwig Hoffenreich idea of “the writing on the wall. pours milk Courtesy The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection onto her. In this work she alludes both B/w photographs to the miraculously bleeding bodies of saints Photography Ludwig Hoffenreich in Christian mythology as well as the shock Prints 2000 of violence and physical injury. in front of a dark backdrop. 13. Otto Muehl 1925 Grodnau. Portugal her eyes closed. he blows up a balloon in her panties. 2 min 41 s amniotic sac. and places a piece of raw meat on her. Not least her With Gertrude Eder passive attitude while the blood inexplicably Acquired 2003 starts flowing creates an almost unbearable tension. She The leftover shape is then filled with raspberry repeatedly dips her right hand into a bowl filled juice until it bursts.

” and “ping-pong. What begins like a concert in Reinhard Priessnitz. took place simultaneously in all the the other. Otto Muehl. Dieter Haupt.” and “rattling” were created by Photography Ludwig Hoffenreich blowing up balloons. “sawing up” a With Christian Ludwig Attersee. Photography Ludwig Hoffenreich Günter Brus. Stephan in Vienna. Oswald Wiener. Friedl Muehl. whipping them. At the beginning and Oswald Wiener. The score was on view in the space 1966 during the action. Dominik Steiger. Cosinus Alpha worked together with other artists. Muehl planned this action in advance using a pictogram-like notation system of his Aktionskonzert für Al Hansen own devising.” only to the artist’s earning a living as a private “kuck-kuck. Rudolf Schwarzkogler.” “whimpering. substances on their bodies. he harries both women with oil and wheat flour. and Kurt Kren had recently With Otto Muehl. Concert for Al Hansen) marked the first time lying on a kind of swing. letting the air out. as well as her female friends. but likely also to the geometry of the creation of a sound collage that made use of the various poses of the two women. While the two women act out the painter Christian Ludwig Attersee and the various sex positions. with a flamethrower. concert” to him. is covered with paint and the Actionists staged an event at the renowned other substances. It was also one of the occasions on which representatives of this movement Materialaktion Nr.” “grunting. where she squashes several tomatoes. while another. gallery spaces.” B/w photographs “farting. Kurt Kren. above all balloons. Sounds such as “squeaking. rubbing Prints 2000 their surfaces. 14. Prints 2000 Peter Weibel. Peter Weibel an event in which Muehl shapes the bodies of his Acquired 2003 performers both sculpturally and pictorially using various materials: one performer is wrapped up The Aktionskonzert für Al Hansen (Action in a plastic bag that is tied shut. Although Brus did not take The performers are his wife Friedl and one of part. human body as well as various objects. Henny Petri participated in the Destruction in Art Acquired 2003 Symposium in London. Hermann balloon or also shooting at a hundred balloons Nitsch. where they had got to know the New York Fluxus artist Al Hansen. Muehl’s action Cosinus Alpha takes as its Upon their return they dedicated an “action subject sexual interactions between women.His central concern in this Materialaktion was the math tutor. the style of John Cage increasingly turns into into Dominik Steiger. avant-garde Galerie nächst St. and intermittently demanded The trigonometric function cosine alpha that audience involvement. Otto Muehl. Hermann Nitsch. Visitors were welcomed Muehl refers to in the title makes reference not into each space with the syllables “tick tack. a group committed to expanding the concept of B/w photographs literature. among 1964 them members of the Wiener Gruppe. The actions of the evening appealed to all the Then one of them reaches into the underwear of senses.” Artists combed . Rudolf Schwarzkogler did. Muehl smears o various writers Reinhard Preissnitz.

Standing in front of a flag from the a still life. in Muehl’s words. who was wearing a tie with the name of out of her mouth like blood. also blew balloons up until they burst. First raspberry juice drips Muehl. . themes from art history. of gnomes” and “gnome art” as well as the breadcrumbs. bedsheets. too. 2. glued newspaper pages over his eyes and For La Dolorosa Muehl has a woman stand in typed out a lecture about “non-affirmative art. Muehl got onto a ladder and yelled as he threw bedsprings into the room. or paper the repression of the state and its “ideological plates. One of the participating artists had chairs 4. creating a kind of gestural disparaging appropriation of the word Wichtel abstract painting.” front of a white wall. flour. As in traditional still lifes. Afterwards he is. Das Ohr. on the wall. With Ziemi Schieb. and did the same with rolls of film. anarchist such as heads or limbs protrude from various speeches with a megaphone. and 11 min 03 s scattered grains of wheat through the space. Muehl here inserts himself with a provocative Weibel and Wiener presented actions that self-confidence. onto her naked the laundry detergent brand “Omo-super” on it. Michelangelo) tied to his feet and dragged them through the 1967 space. He railed against surfaces such as tabletops. La Dolorosa. numbered title. He 16mm film transferred to DVD. sound. into whose lineage which visitors could reach into. a genre that repeatedly plays a role Lower Austrian town of Stockerau. For Weibel’s action lecture 2. and whispered swear words into their Zock Exercises ears. sensuous qualities are set against a critique and an undoing of language. sausage. each of which has its own. he had moments of morbidity and decay. Schwarzkogler spent the entire evening sitting These make ironic allusions to artists and in a cardboard box with circular holes cut into it. ketchup. (gnome). Dieter Haupt Kren let visitors touch a nylon bag filled with Camera Helmut Kronberger coins. and toothpicks. wall. In Kardinal (Cardinal) a man’s head is first wrapped in string and then sculpturally formed with it. In the title. and syrup-like substances “army of gnomes. were critical of language and the sociopolitical Das Ohr (The Ear) is an action in the style of system. at once here. Muehl plays on the motif of Our Lady of Sorrows in the Marian devotions in Christian tradition.their hair. (1. egg yolks. color. She very obviously has difficulty breathing without swallowing any paint.” with his characteristic are poured onto it. After that he sprays the performer subsequently read out the jumble of typewritten with red paint that runs down her body and the letters. where human body parts declaimed politically provocative. Kardinal. Largely unnoticed by visitors. social order. upper body. cutlery. Attersee was projecting vacation films and postcards Muehl’s Zock Exercises is a work in four parts. In this case an ear is presented on a reality manipulation” as well as the “bourgeois white surface with food. Wiener in Muehl’s works. Acquired with support of the Society of the This was intended as a way of deconstructing Friends of Fine Arts Vienna 2009 the illusionistic medium of film.” and he declared war on “billions Egg whites. 3.

” and thus painted in the manner of which Szondi published his research in rapid a kind of improvised gestural abstraction. once they have inevitably rolled down invited to make faces in front of the camera. a riff on the Film Helmut Kronberger famous volume of poems published by Charles With Walter Ebner. Kren’s film . flour. which was shot in various places naked young women in a circle and ties them over several days between January and March together. in another. They act like living paintbrushes within 1968 the picture itself. Erich Fischer. in violation of human rights. wallpaper shows photographic portraits from the work in paste. he arranges of this film. Baudelaire in the late nineteenth century. His friends and acquaintances were a sofa. Muehl developed a total of four scenes for Otto Muehl considered himself the director the filmmakers. recorded in static wallowing naked on a cloth on the floor. water.“slapped with jam. etc. dough. Julius Mende. The The film has often been compared with the performers in both of these scenes were from avant-garde filmmaker Kurt Kren’s 20/60 48 the Voom Voom disco. Szondi had. he piles their bodies up on 1967. In the 1930s. In one of them. silent. The title may be a reference to the throngs of people in Michelangelo’s Last B/w photographs Judgement in the Sistine Chapel in Rome. Gottfried Schlemmer subsequently integrated into the film. Köpfe aus dem Szondi-Test (20/60 48 Heads where Rosemarie Stenzel-Quest had invited from the Szondi-Test). dough thrown and poured onto them” (again Muehl’s Action for the Film Die Blumen des Bösen words). the filmmakers Hans-Christoph 1967 Stenzel and Rosemarie Stenzel-Quast commissioned Otto Muehl and Günter Brus to 16mm film transferred to DVD. b/w. They both (Workshop) made works in which the human body is given Acquired with support of the Society of the sculptural form by being tied up with rope or Friends of Fine Arts Vienna 2009 by stacking. Otto Kobalek. which the Stenzels Nitsch. three people are of a series of longer scenes. Jörg Dobrovich. near Muehl’s apartment. visibly enjoying climbing and rolling over one another. Photography Ludwig Hoffenreich Copyright Konzett Gallery Grimuid In 1968. Leopold them to participate in the performance. Muehl’s film is made up the part titled Michelangelo. they have “paint. conceive and perform actions for their film Die 10 min Blumen des Bösen (Fleurs du Mal). It Britta Fleischmann. In succession. Hermann actions in their own homes. egg yolks. By contrast. Dieter Haupt. While they are occupy the screen at once. One shots in which from time to time two heads of them is the artist’s himself. developed a test to use physiognomic criteria to diagnose the structures of human drives using physiognomic measurements according to mathematical taxonomic principles. they playfully climb back over each other. Robert involved Muehl und Brus each carrying out Klemmer. Oswald Wiener.

live in a phallus-centered society were offered The photographs were taken at regular intervals up among the possible interpretations of this with an autotimer. bread. which sexual intercourse takes place without where she showed her own works alongside theatrical exaggeration. in her words. In 1978 she organized the country’s freedom. censors closed the exhibition. From the beginning. sausage. while showing the naked the media. Repeatedly of the Marquis de Sade and Georges Bataille. not least. Natalia psychoanalytic analyses about what it means to LL performed in the work with her husband. staring directly at the viewer with a suggestive This was. contemporary bodies only from the hips downward. 14 min 32 s Courtesy of lokal_30. . silent. also in sexual positions. In this way the artist makes performance. Noemi Midan. It caused a big stir in Poland in her private intimacy public and turns the viewer the 1970s and was received in completely into a voyeur. to be read in the sociopolitical context of Natalia LL also aimed to establish feminist art Poland at the time as an affirmation of personal in Poland. erotic pose the dominant tendencies in Poland at the time: with a banana. Warsaw In 1968–69 Natalia LL began to work The way in which the artist Natalia LL and other with erotic—or. boundary of intimacy is not transgressed: the and Suzy Lake. Consumer Art serves as a reminder that Registration shows two people in various gender roles are constructed by men. and nor can we perceive anything about their emotions. marbles or an apolitical lyrical abstraction and expressive other objects as if they were male sexual painting. people cannot be recognized. Warsaw Courtesy of lokal_30. which allowed the performance different ways by male and female art critics. Nonetheless a certain those by Carolee Schneemann. When these works were first shown in 1971. b/w. The photographic series Intimate organs. inspired in part by the writings glance evokes a pornographic film. “intimate”— performers act in front of the camera at first photography. KOSMO Consumer Art 1969 1972–74 B/w photographs DVD. The serial arrangement of the photographs endows the bodies of husband and wife with sculptural qualities. It is a performance for the camera in first exhibition of feminist performance art. a way of rebelling against gaze. Poland Intimate Registration.Natalia LL 1937 Żywiec. she toys in a provocative.

USA Walking in an Exaggerated Manner Around the Perimeter of a Square 1967–1968 16mm film transferred to DVD. the artist makes simple movements along the edges of the room or the outlines of certain geometric forms. two squares have been marked out on the ground with white masking tape. silent. b/w. b/w. 10 min Acquired 2005 Made with a static camera. Walk with Contrapposto 1968 16mm film transferred to DVD. Nauman walks along the outline of the larger square.Bruce Nauman 1941 Fort Wayne. At each corner he turns 90 degrees and so appears from the back. which significantly . For ten minutes. or from the front. Every now and then he changes direction and walks backward. IN. These works do not at first glance seem to be staking a claim to any particular artistic value. sound. the combination of an engaged. 54 min Acquired 2005 Known as contrapposto. he swings his hips outward in an exaggerated manner. Bruce Nauman animates this classical pose by transposing it into a style of walking as he traverses a narrow corridor. weight-bearing leg and a free leg has been a traditional compositional technique in art since antiquity. in profile. In his early performances. Nauman’s first films show simple actions that derive from his engagement with the forms of contemporary dance. After each step he pauses briefly with an exaggeratedly angled pelvis. In his largely empty studio. Placing one foot slowly and deliberately in front of the other.

He relaxes his body only when his shoulders have reached the two walls and he briefly sinks into the corner. The sound of him hitting the wall becomes a rhythmic component of the performance. he lets himself fall backward. Stretching out his body. only to get up and stretch and swing himself forward again. the crop is such Acquired 2005 that the artist’s head is always just above the top of the frame. creating the impression that he is lying horizontally in relation to the picture format. sideways. He breaks off the hour- 60 min long performance three times and walks out Acquired 2005 of the frame.1 see him lying motionless on his front or back 1968 on the concrete floor. His hands are Tony Sinking into the Floor. Viewers see Nauman walking After performing in his own work in the late in what seems an endless loop. which also crops out parts of his feet. and hear his 1960s. Every few minutes the settings are changed with dissolves and he appears For this film. color. sound. The position of his feet stays constant during the entire hour-long performance. . in the 1970s Bruce Nauman started steps. His head is outside the frame. you Bouncing in the Corner Nr. sound. Bruce Nauman turned the camera doubled for a few seconds. The mental effort his actions required is evidenced in his occasional 16mm film transferred to DVD. which sometimes swing sideways or to the front. b/w. to give other performers instructions to carry out in front of the camera. 60 min filmed with a static camera. Tony’s task was to imagine himself sinking into the floor. The only thing that changes in these repeated actions is his arms. For almost an hour he 1973 walks intently in this manner without losing balance and touching the walls.slows down his movements. He stands in a corner of his studio facing the camera. Face Up and clasped behind his head to draw attention to Face Down the axis of his body. The scene is Video transferred to DVD. choking and coughing.

in the 31st or they have things written on them. the artist also onto it. they reveal is the artist’s formal orientation The woman is portrayed as a bride. Aktion. In terms of content. Austria 15. for example.e. so it made sense when he restaged 1970 four of these body studies for video in 1988.” usually along a strict vertical axis. They were In both media Nitsch considered it important photographed as torsos. Peter Kasperak recorded them in color. crucifixions had initially taken place intestines are placed onto the protagonists. among much In the symbolic language of Hermann Nitsch’s else. Theater such as the blinding of Oedipus or the Petra Kantor emasculation of Attis: Freudian topoi related to primal fears of blinding and castration. a female body for this purpose. Jenny Freismuth. 7. although this time the professional cameraman 16mm film transferred to DVD. In both of these actions. at a with frontal shots and with the head and feet right angle from the subject. Aktion toward works of early Austrian Expressionism. motifs such as bandages Color video. thus avoiding both cropped out. of a so-called penis irrigation. animal the 1960s.. Thus. that the camera angle was neutral.” would subsequently be deployed many times a kind of background research for his Orgien in Nitsch’s increasingly large-scale theatrical Mysterien Theater. of undefined white backgrounds. only with the corpses of lambs. 1965 (re-enactment of 1988) in particular Schiele and Kokoschka’s nudes. Abreaktionsspiel repeatable. binds muslin bandages or sanitary towels Orgien Mysterien Theater. black and white Super8 films of these figures. The male member is laid on a table and covered in animal victim thus becomes a human victim in intestines. 28 min These works develop or borrow the language Acquired 2004 of objects and symbols in the Orgien Mysterien Theater. In 1965 and 1966 Hermann Nitsch staged a The imagery developed in these body studies series of actions that he saw as “body studies. as well as bringing about “abreaction experiences.Hermann Nitsch 1938 Vienna. in front the film camera was also mounted on a tripod. religious objects. As part and 32nd actions Nitsch used a human and. Classically beautiful naked actions. religious sacrifices around the pubic regions or chests of these from various ritualistic contexts play a role in bodies. Among other insights. Blood is poured onto them. Nitsch. silent. in egg yolks or water. In similar fashion. b/w. animal . for the first time wears a chasuble. in black and white. sound. 59 min over the eyes or pubic region allude to the Camera Peter Kasperak big mythical themes of the Orgien Mysterien With Walter Reichl. i. although this footage has since been lost.” If. Nitsch understands his actions as essentially 32. were “almost all photographed from a tripod. a liturgical Nitsch’s sketchbooks contain precise prelimin­ vestment from the Catholic tradition. male bodies in standing or reclining positions As was the case with the still images. which were arranged very precisely for the camera. In some cases the artist also made perspectival depth and foreshortening. or has various substances poured a ritual. a performer’s pointedly. and he ary sketches for the images and events that also uses a monstrance and various other emerge in these actions.

in the artist’s studio of an exception in his oeuvre. Aktion of Tuscany. so it could ultimately be carried out This is mixed with scenes shot in a cemetery only the morning after. as are lines of sugar cubes. the intestines are taken out of the pit only for them then to be placed into it once Hermann Nitsch is the only performer in more. was carried out without any hindrance performed directly in natural surroundings are on December 8. and then digs a pit Ein Requiem für Schwarzkogler within the space he has marked out. Komm in meinen dunklen Garten exemplifies Both actions took place in Munich. Nitsch is dressed in a green. He then uses them to 16mm film transferred to DVD. Rosemarie Stenzel-Quast. the blindfold a privately funded art space open to the public. At one point Nitsch steps into the pit and the film Komm in meinen dunklen Garten . In the film’s first one of Nitsch’s friends. Thus Nitsch expands by Hermann Nitsch under Leonardo’s Last and intensifies the language of the Orgien Supper in the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent Mysterien Theater. Although film was Ein Requiem (Come Into My Dark Garden: made for Bavarian television. who played a key role in the required permits. which he pours blood and water onto. but they were unable to get the Hanel Koeck. Originally the filmmakers wanted to shoot a . where Nitsch delineates a rectangle Komm in meinen dunklen Garten on the grass in white paint. color. wallows around in them. and place in February 1970 in the Aktionsraum 1. although the burial-like actions of Mary). sound. again pouring blood and 60 min water onto them before covering them with Camera: Hans-Christof Stenzel. Nitsch considers the entire work a requiem for his friend the artist Rudolf Schwarzkogler. The 32nd action took part. At the side 1974 of this pit are cattle intestines.” about Leonardo is poured onto her. presence. the grass.intestines are laid on her body and blood film. The film’s second part takes place in the hills 37. The 31st the themes and forms that structure Nitsch’s action. where Nitsch recites theoretical texts pertaining to his Orgien Mysterien Theater. Its climax would have been an action performed with a dildo. it was censored A Requiem) by Hans-Christof Stenzel and and could not be shown at the time. In later Copyright: Konzett Gallery scenes. in addition. fill the gravelike pit. Further chasubles are laid out on Stenzel-Quast. gold chasuble. thanks also to the performer in Milan. Rosemarie a chasuble. titled Maria Empfängnis (The Conception work. yellow. titled “The Last Supper. that is spattered with blood. and at an inn. who died in 1969. It was filmed at Collodi Castle and in the hills near Vinci in Tuscany. 1969. He is blindfolded. as place this was prevented by a large police well as through a labyrinth with bamboo plants. decision to include public sexual gratification. a sex act is da Vinci. He feels his way On the evening when it was scheduled to take along the stone staircase of Collodi Castle. The artist understood the scenes he developed with Stenzel and Stenzel-Quast for this film as his 37th action.

silent. Geoffrey Hendricks. In September 2003 Ono. Two further performances took place in 1966 6 min 20 s at the Destruction in Art Symposium in London. It shows the artist sitting on the viewed. 16mm film transferred to DVD. Camera Jeff Perkins. b/w. then Copyright Yoko Ono seventy years old. The lines of their butt cheeks and butt crack divide the image vertically and horizontally into four rectangular compartments that keep changing as people make small movements. b/w. Japan Cut Piece Eye Blink 1965 1966 16mm film transferred to DVD. silent. After the artist has concept. The public was invited to come onto the stage and. the piece. performed the piece again in the Ranelagh Theater in Paris. 1966 The artist remains impassive throughout and avoids all eye contact. to cut bits off of the Film No. 9 min 10 s 2 min 40 s Film Maysles Brothers Copyright Yoko Ono Copyright Yoko Ono The short sequence Eye Blink focuses in Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece is based on a Fluxus close-up on the artist’s eye.Yoko Ono 1933 Tokyo. figures in the artist’s circle of friends as they stand in front of the camera. sound. opened it slowly like the lens of a camera. important figures engaged in “action art” also Richard Hamilton. Philip Corner. Anthony Fox where the Vienna Actionists and many other With Susanna Campbell. . participated. floor with a pair of scissors in front of her. This film documents the third. intended for repeated performances. In this confrontation the place in the Carnegie Recital Hall in New York spectators are at the same time viewers and City in 1965. b/w. presenting it as Four shows close-ups of the buttocks of various an expression of her hope for world peace. which took without blinking. she The first two took place in 1964 in Tokyo and looks back at the fixed gaze of the machine Kyoto. Later other people also executed Carolee Schneemann et al. 16mm film transferred to DVD. 4 (Bottoms) clothes she was wearing and take them away. at their own discretion.

One space was dedicated to prepared pianos. Prints 2004 Acquired 2004 “Exposition of Music – Electronic Television” took place in 1963 at the gallerist Rolf Jährling’s private residence in Wuppertal. There is nothing in it that you are supposed to remember. Cage was the initiator and figurehead for a movement that turned against the conventions of the European musical tradition and its ideas of composition and order.” Taking Cage’s thoughts one step further. Germany. In addition there were mechanical sound objects. in Wuppertal Paik created a scenario of sound instruments and audio installations that were also made available for use by visitors. Zen for Touching. Electronic Television how Paik wanted to activate all the senses in 1963 the reception of music. It was Nam June Paik’s first solo exhibition. just the activity of sound and silence. South Korea – 2006 Miami Beach. His work breaks down the borders between auditorium and orchestra as well as those between music and sound: “The music that I’m dealing with with doesn’t necessarily have to be called music. FL. USA Exposition of Music. one of which was destroyed by Joseph Beuys in an improvised action. Zen for Walking. In this way he abolished the classical set-up of a musical performance and turned the exhibition into a big spectacle. which evidences . among them the tape installation Random Access and the Schallplatten-Schaschlik (Record Shashlik) as well as the record player Listen to Music Through the Mouth. This Korean-born pioneer of the Fluxus movement had studied classical music and theory of music in Korea before discovering ways of going beyond a traditional concept of music under John Cage’s influence. No themes. Zen for Head and Zen for Wind B/w photographs were repurposed instruments that visitors were Photography Manfred Montwé welcome to use themselves.Nam June Paik 1932 Seoul.

the work’s ideas of violence and injury in the blood from thorough disregard for spatial obstructions and the self-inflicted wounds. above it. each containing several photographs. silent. Each of them carries a performance relic with five framed panels his initials as its title. Especially at the time. razor blade 22 min 13 s Acquired 1994 Kontakt. jumps off terraces. while underneath is a black and white hauls himself over fences. plaster. and climbs over backyard walls. as her feet bled. the artist walks performance there are also photographs of her along an imaginary straight line through feet in the sand or among bright flowers. Wearing Alongside documentary images of the fashionable. France – 1942 Belgrade. . 1977 is the second in the series.P. elegant clothing. b/w photographs. France Le corps pressenti N. sketch. crosses streets. jumps over curbstones. as Belgrade. border demarcations lent it particular political significance. Video transferred to DVD.Gina Pane Neša Paripović 1939 Biarritz. This the Conceptual artist Nesa Paripovic created object now lies on the floor against a wall as between 1975 and 1978. from urban remnants to the town center the irregular mass of plaster in the slab on and back to peripheral parts of the city. or districts. Ideas of purity and of the city and the changes it was undergoing flawlessness are thus evoked just as much as in the 1970s. His walk the floor bearing her footprints. His path takes The color white comes up in various elements him from the outskirts of town to its outlying of the work: in the artist’s white clothes. Walking well as photos of further actions. Die Kunstsammlung der Erste Group und ERSTE Stiftung Gina Pane made multiple cuts into her feet with a razor blade while standing in wet plaster This work is one film of a three-part series that and waiting. he climbs up steep of each panel in the middle is a performance hills. On the left quickly without hesitation. color. for it to dry. photograph showing a snowy winter landscape. Serbia 1990 Paris. which are like through Belgrade thus also becomes a portrait those left in the white snow. ink on paper. N. P. 1975 1977 Color photographs. paying no heed to obstacles.

From 1974 onward. with some parts the socialist regime. For this purpose. in the works She throws these letters up into the air. syntax. Acquired 1975 including passages from James Joyce’s Ulysses and breaks them down into their basic Alongside Brustwerk (Breast Work). and Augenwerk (Eye Work). each work several photographs are montaged trees. it disappeared from public space with the end of has been painted white. The close-up photographs create an and meaning. such as. and thus turns language of the body and their immediate surroundings into something that the body can experience. Freed from grammar. the mouth or genitalia. components—the letters of the alphabet—which Schenkelwerk (Leg work). in on view. are parts used in communist Poland for propaganda of a six-part series in which Friederike Pezold and advertising purposes. which have since investigates her own body. are photographed from various angles and for Chance distributes the letters on meadows. B/w photographs 5 min 45 s Acquired 1981 Sammlung Generali Foundation – Dauerleihgabe am Museum der Moderne Salzburg Das vergleichende Dreieck (Schamwerk) 1974 Ewa Partum’s early actions pursue the ideas of concrete poetry. These parts natural surroundings. b/w. together. The female body— of normative linguistic rules and given over to Pezold’s own—is thus transformed into quasi chance the letters that lie everywhere on the graphic system of signs. which she called B/w photographs “active poetry. At the beginning of the 1970s.” The artist takes literary works. sculptural works. Austria Aktive Poesie Mundwerk 1971/1973 1975 8mm film transferred to DVD. Schamwerk (Pubic she takes the white paper letters that had been Work) and Mundwerk (Mouth Work). floor can combine into new meanings but also be experienced as visual. the artist increasingly focused on the body and the social codes of womanhood and became a pioneer of feminist art in Poland. they no longer refer to or impression of fragments that at first glance seem describe an object. accentuated in black. . a conceptual engagement with various materials and language systems determines Partum’s production. silent.Ewa Partum Friederike Pezold 1945 Grodzisk Mazowiecki. Freed from the compulsions independent abstract forms. or in water. In each case. Armwerk (Arm Work) she then uses as her material. Poland 1945 Vienna.

silent. for which he. color. along with other performers. 16mm film transferred to DVD. Expression. Brus carried Snows out an action analyzing the body. but the artists used this forum them onto themselves or rolling around with to carry out taboo-breaking. At the lectern. A group plastic. sang the national 20 min 22 s anthem and defecated with his buttocks to Camera Alfons Schilling the audience. The men paint the women and writhe of dissidence. USA 1988 Vienna.Ernst Schmidt jr. done?’”—his outstretched. London. and thought and writing formulae for cybernetic Carolee Schneemann developed the “kinetic models onto the blackboard. theater” performance in response to her . color. PA. Compilation 2008 Carolee Schneemann. Otto Muehl. 1967 among other things. transparent bandages with two slits for his eyes. whose head was ensconced in chicken. indulgent. was performances of the work Meat Joy. Camera Pierre Dominique Gaisseau With Günter Brus. and then finally masturbated while lying on his back. “Meat Joy has the treated with a combustible substance and character of an erotic rite—excessive.” of performers—Muehl’s Direct Art Group— organized a competition to see who could urinate the farthest. which all Austria’s most radical contribution to that year’s took place in 1964: at the Festival de la Libre international social protests. smeared the excrement onto his Acquired in 2015 body. cut himself on the chest and thighs with a razor blade. and Peter Weibel Judson Church in New York. color. masochist. Dennison Hall. 2 min 10 min 19 s Camera: Ernst Schmidt jr. paper scrap. Four women and four men perform a kind They had been invited by the Socialist Austrian of choreography in which the women are Student Association (SÖS). which took place in June 1968 This video is a compilation of three filmed in Lecture Hall 1 of Vienna University. Oswald Wiener. Carolee Schneemann 1938 Hadersdorf am Kamp. Muehl whipped a self-proclaimed a celebration of flesh as material: raw fish. Meanwhile Wiener was dissecting Snows was staged eight times in rapid the “input-output relations” between language succession in a theater in New York in 1967. Oswald Wiener Trevor Shimizu Acquired 2003 Acquired 2008 The action Kunst und Revolution (Art and Revolution). brushes. Peter Weibel. hand. was on fire. urinated into his 16mm film transferred to DVD. and Günter Brus. Weibel held “a literally burning around in a kind of wild dancing with the aid talk on the political question: ‘What is to be of these especially sensuous substances. wet paint. ropes. drank the urine. They The event was envisaged as an evening of talks make use of fish and plucked poultry. rubbing and discussions. Austria – 1939 Fox Chace. participated in it. sound. right arm had been In Schneemann’s words. sound. Paris. Austria Kunst und Revolution Meat Joy 1968 1964 16mm film transferred to DVD. sausages. Otto Muehl. demonstrative acts them. vomited. moved or lifted into position by the men. b/w.

As they do this. the video shown here is a compilation from six of them. In 16mm film transferred to DVD. I thought of the an electronic system activated by the public vagina as a sculpting form. who in some shots are standing in water up to their thighs. as well as on the performers’ bodies. The films were shown on portable projectors across the entire Video transferred to DVD. lover and beloved. a message by a multicolored grid and a rotating light from the interior of my body. The performers referent. sound. sheets of white paper. birth passage. Five films were a key feature of the evening. The scene is lit by Carolee Schneemann has performed Interior a sequence of bright colored lights. film. The calm and . they calmly intone a text that is simultaneously inscribed on the scrolls of paper that they pull out of her vagina piece by piece. Schneemann extends the principles sound. Acquired 2015 she draws a dense mesh of lines and marks while swinging to and fro. while the Scroll three times: in 1975 at “Woman Here and camera alternates between close-ups and long Now” in East Hampton. and artificial snow. and the actions of the group. this piece. It was dominated of extracting a source of knowledge. it reminds one of a quasi- of a winter landscape. in 1977 shots. ecstasy. from my other sculpture that was mechanically controlled by ‘mouth. as Interior Scroll – The Cave. which she contrasted with impressions in nature.’ originated in a dream. Playing with the suggestive eroticism of at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado. color. The stage set was religious ritual.” torturer and tortured. its movement through in 1995. transformation. 28 min 19 s Acquired with support of mumok friends 2013 Interior Scroll – The Cave This performance was staged a total of nine 1975–1995 times between 1963 and 1976. In the opening sequence of the decorated with silver foil. The camera intermittently shows close-ups of their faces. bound body. 7 min 30 s of Jackson Pollock’s “action painting” into the Camera Maria Beatty realm of the body. Long Island.feelings about the atrocities of the Vietnam deliberate unfolding of events is not orgiastic War. rather. the vagina. are alternately cast as aggressor and victim. and the naked. In a space hand and a kind of living paintbrush. Hanging naked from a rope. inside a cave and together with other space makes it an extension of the painter’s women. color. a text by Schneemann reads: “The image branches. illuminated only by a single strong light source. an architectural without their knowledge. the strip of text. space. a collage of Up To and Including Her Limits newspaper clippings showing images of the 1976 atrocities of the Vietnam War. among them Schneemann’s Viet Flakes. the source of sacred knowledge. the participants apply paint to their bodies with brushes or their hands.

Schwarzkogler starts the piece by B/w negative prints working with a diverse array of substances and With Hermann Nitsch objects. In a later scene Anna Brus performs as the It was made of white sheets and open to the bride. On loan from the Austrian Ludwig Foundation. including the bodies of dead animals. then Rudolf Schwarzkogler built a tall. guests. The motif of the bride is also open to many since 1984 symbolic interpretations. Once it has been ignited. Even the long hemp threads to make a kind of mask. On loan from the Austrian Ludwig Foundation Among much else. Austria –1969 Vienna. He nails a fish to the wall. Cibulka first binds pigment powder as well as their bodies and Schwarzkogler’s head with muslin bandages diverse objects. and pours a liquid onto an animal brain on To construct the field of action for this work. Austria 1. He has head was wrapped in muslin bandages. frenetic act of painting. just like the white cloth she stands behind. 1965 Like all of Schwarzkogler’s actions. Aktion “Hochzeit“ terminates the action. and various 1965 substances. he pours a blue liquid onto since 1984 them and cut them open. while her white dress.Rudolf Schwarzkogler 1940 Vienna. He had envisaged doing the action with a white sheet. Both artists were naked. He pushes a sponge into wig. putting next to a blue globe that’s lying on a pedestal. Schwarzkogler then from Nitsch’s wig make a not insignificant in turn wraps Cibulka’s head with a blue and contribution to the improvised frenzy. Heinz Cibulka dead animals and objects at the beginning Photography Walter Kindler inevitably brings to mind shamanistic rituals. At first she stands hidden behind a front. The handling of With Anna Brus. The artist himself called it a Malaktion or “painting action. Schwarzkogler . sensual way. Schwarzkogler’s if removing her from a painting canvas. a table next to it before setting it on fire. within-a-space in Hermann Nitsch’s studio. to use a slurry of white paint and black In the closing scene. white bandage. as around the knees with rope. the first action already invites one to posit various Color photographs references and associations. Photography Ludwig Hoffenreich on a table covered with a white tablecloth. human body and surfaces in three-dimensional in the presence of a small audience of invited space. In an emphatically painterly. by this point already ripped the top of her dress The two artists carry out an increasingly from her body and poured blue paint onto her freewheeling. narrow space- he paints the surface of the table blue. Rudolf Schwarzkogler carried out his first also signals the white canvas moving onto the action in his friend Heinz Cibulka’s apartment. He slides a blue cylinder over his head and lights a firework that is attached to it. objects. wearing a long blond her with blue paint. Her head becomes visible when female performer. Nitsch was tied her mouth and lifts her through the opening. but when she failed to show Schwarzkogler cuts into the fabric and spatters up Nitsch took her place.” and it is an example of the expansion of painting into three dimensions Aktion 5a through the use of bodies.

It was tubing. and collaged mannequin. black at the darkest sides of human behavior. Germany – 1998 Berlin. and a white sphere. Aktion) Miss Vietnam 1966 1967 B/w photographs Painted. burned. With his whole body wrapped in muslin events. paint. By the end of mannequins were bedecked with newspaper the action. Wolf Vostell 1932 Leverkusen. they also chickens and other objects in arrangements by had a clothes iron applied to them. white cables. glue. and the action was documented were left free—he performed in the corner of with three cameras according to the precise a room that was completely swathed in white. the shamanistic healing rituals. a square intended to aggressively challenge the image black pane of glass. instructions. so that the “brutality” of the events in the artwork was contextualized with the inhumanity of war. 1967 Prints 2000 Formerly Sammlung Hahn. and some fingers in May 1967. It took place at a firing range in Cologne bandages—just eyes. and were his partner Edith Adam. mouth. Action was Rudolf Schwarzkogler’s as a direct engagement with current political last. A film version also included scenes from real wars. They of the military in society and replace it with are deployed in a way that brings to mind abhorrence. articles. acquired 1978 Acquired 1973 Wolf Vostell staged the happening Miss Vietnam The 6. Germany Aktion mit dem eigenen Körper (6. Photography Michael Epp various materials from Vietnam Action.” with which Vostell took aim such as a dead chicken. a lit light bulb. he uses objects the Human Being. and military “materiel” such The last photographs show still lifes with two as dummy bombs and ammunition. At the center is “Abuse and Without ever having explicitly explained the Abreaction using the Doll as a Substitute for significance of his props. . The mannequins were preserved as performance relics. set on fire. a stethoscope. In several discrete episodes. Schwarzkogler has left the room.

C. Rather than full of sweet beer into the unfilled glass. Konrad Bayer. present. […]” actors playing parts in a story or constructing Achleitner only reacts to the present tense illusions. Gerhard Rühm. This also brought into question the and drinks it up. the people on stage put on view their and carries out the various actions as they own unmediated presence in the situation are narrated.Wiener Gruppe The Wiener Gruppe was a loose circle of literary traditional role of the audience as passive friends including Friedrich Achleitner. that were intended to liven up the bottle full of sweet gray beer. he is going to empty the bottle the illusionistic tradition of theater. Photography Franz Hubmann The designation “cabaret” was modeled after Prints 2007 the Dadaistic cabarets of circa 1920. Konrad Bayer were multimedia evenings that one might is out of view behind the curtain and reading today also describe as Happenings. as a company of actors and ourselves as the spectators. a themselves. program. Among (1. “one of the basic ideas [was to] put together in various forms and constellations. and future tenses: by American art. Gerhard Rühm.” and the mostly sarcastic chansons. what is on the strange table. They took up the traditions “friedrich is going to drink a bottle of sweet of Dada in a series of several sketch-like gray beer. Konrad Bayer. In Oswald Wiener’s members not only shared ideas but worked words. an unfilled glass. literarisches cabaret) the most important of these were the two 1958 literary cabarets that took place in Vienna on December 6. H. In the first number H. the artists sat on and Oswald Wiener. 1958 and April 15. Oswald Wiener Artmann had already left the group by this time. ‘reality’ on view and in consequence to shut The group was at its most cohesive between it down. The work concludes with . another was to view the audience 1954 and 1959. With regard to Vienna Actionism and what is friedrich going to do. Rühm and Wiener. albeit aloud a text that describes a person drinking before this term was given its current meaning beer in the past. recipients of what they see. he picks up the subsequent developments in performance bottle full of sweet beer with his distinguished art. 1959.” Although the Wiener Gruppe had its beginnings in experimental poetry. Its themselves the audience. They B/w photographs were conceived and executed collaboratively With Friedrich Achleitner. Bayer. the most important aspect of hand. in front of him is a composed and performed by the artists strange table. He pours the beer into the glass at hand. what is he going to do with the bottle full these evenings was the way they overcame of sweet beer. Artmann. however. of the second literary cabaret. by Achleitner. he is sitting on a chair from the “numbers. olde-worlde künstlerbund. Friedrich Achleitner sits at a table with a bottle The literary cabarets of the Wiener Gruppe of beer and an empty glass on it. C. People came and left stage watching the spectators as if they were the group over the course of its existence. as well Acquired 2007 as those of Helmut Qualtinger and Carl Merz in Vienna after World War II. its members soon also went beyond conventional notions of friedrich achleitner als biertrinker literature to stage performative events.

after some five minutes occasional bursts of laughter rose from the audience. as Wiener recalled. their own being and unmediated presence. of passive reception. calling for the occasional B/w photographs encore. opened the sitting on chairs in three rows. but everyone taking part Bayer came on stage and read out a text about should be and remain themselves. so we started to 1959 applaud just when the audience had started to do so as well. Then Konrad brecht’s performers)”. put on fencing masks and used axes audience and looking at it with great interest. we observation that he was glad that “a penniless . the auditorium lighted. facing the suitcases. “the ensemble was stopped in front of the stage. the atmosphere was great. Acquired 2007 The first number of the second literary cabaret 2 welten (2. Konrad Bayer. Photography Franz Hubmann they were confronted with their own role in the Prints 2007 mechanism of illusion. literarisches cabaret) encapsulated its fundamental wish to break 1959 with the illusionism of classical theater. Gerhard Rühm was sitting behind him suspense in the audience. Gerhard Rühm. the participants At the beginning of this “number. They and. to smash the piano to pieces. Konrad Bayer. whispering. which we interpreted as an important turn in erste nummer (2. the best-known brands of Austrian beer. literarisches cabaret) the play we were watching. the illusion of other people (like stanislavski’s Oswald Wiener played a chanson on it to actors)” nor “stand in for other people (like prove it was in working order. the curtain rose and they had two suitcases as luggage.” 2 welten. the stage was dark. one classical concert pianist. but people B/w photographs and situations are shown in the specificity of With Friedrich Achleitner.” In place With Friedrich Achleitner.Achleitner saying: “Scheiß Schwechater”— pointed a finger at individual spectators in the “Damn Schwechater”—a reference to one of audience. Gerhard Rühm. while Wiener simultaneously This approach was manifested in the recited from Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico- first number of the “Second Cabaret” in a Philosophicus. Oswald Wiener to reflect on what makes something theater. There is no playacting or dissimulation. in the “literary cabaret” should neither “create a grand piano was pushed onto the stage. gawking through our opera glasses. Meanwhile. who was himself a fully trained we behaved like ordinary theater-goers.” According to the press release for the event. the audience was asked Gerhard Rühm. Friedrich Achleitner particularly incisive way: after the loud noise started driving a motor scooter through the of an oil drilling rig had created a sense of space. Oswald Wiener In Oswald Wiener’s words. Indian brothels. “one of the basic Photography Franz Hubmann ideas [was to] showcase ‘reality’” as well as Prints 2007 “to view the audience as a company of actors Acquired 2007 and ourselves as the spectators. later made the cynical of us was late and tiptoed to his seat.

and at the end shows only movements of her tongue. .” The Dadaistic gesture of the destruction of a Video transferred to DVD. In further sequences she notions of painting and sculpture. NY. With calm and uniform a way of creating sound within the framework movements she touches her face again and of an expanded concept of music. Particularly in the second half of the twentieth Gestures is one of a series of works in which century. its capacity for expression and the ways it can change. the destruction of pianos as Hannah Wilke performs in front of the camera well as other instruments also functioned as in extreme close-up. like a an aesthetic gesture accompanying expanded sculptor her material. NY. assumes various poses and expressions like a silent film actor. b/w. and also as again. however. The investigation of the female face. sound. is also worth considering from the perspective of what men think women should look like. Hannah Wilke 1940 New York. grand piano—the epitome of bourgeois musical 35 min 30 s culture as well as of material prosperity—has Acquired 2015 a long history in slapstick and comedy skits. deforming it slightly each time. USA – 1993 New York. USA music student in the audience started sobbing” Gestures because she had “not yet been able to afford 1974 a grand piano herself. Gestures lets the viewer participate in Wilke’s exploration of her own awareness of her body and its expressive potential.


Salzburg. lokal_30. © Österreichische Ludwig-Stiftung Andreas Geckle. www. Berlin. Holger Reetz. Staatsgalerie Stuttgart.at. Government of Extremadura. The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection and Galerie Lelong. Vienna Actionism and International Kunstvermittlung mumok MuseumsQuartier Performance Text: Eva Badura-Triska. Die Kunstsammlung der Erste Group und ERSTE Stiftung. Spain. Sarah Gotovac/ Tomislav Gotovac Institute. Andreas Petz. Sammlung Generali Foundation. Gregor Neuwirth. Cologne. Jon Grigorescu and Galerija Gregor Podnar. Katharina Radmacher Fundraising and Membership: Cornelia Stellwag Art Education: Claudia Ehgartner. A-1070 Wien Petra Schönfelder. Zagreb. T +43 1 52500 6. Kontakt. . Warsow. Vienna. Sammlung Phillip Konzett.Imprint Exhibition Exhibition Booklet mumok My Body is the Event Edited by Jörg Wolfert. Museumsplatz 1. 1965. Happening Vostell Archive. Stefan Müller. Vienna. March to 23. photo: mumok Wolfang Moser. Archiv Sohm. on loan from the Austrian Christina Hierl. Kathrine Ruppen Ludwig-Stiftung since 1984 Exhibition Installation: Olli Aigner. Maria Huber. b/w photograph Conservation: Andreas Berzlanovich. The Estate of Terry Fox. Maximilian Wahlich. Katja Kulidzhanova Marketing: Leonhard Oberzaucher Events: Maria Fillafer.at Translations: Alexander Scrimgeour Curator: Eva Badura-Triska with Graphic Design: Olaf Osten Director: Karola Kraus Marie-Therese Hochwartner Cover: Rudolf Schwarzkogler Exhibition Management: 3. ISBN 978-3-902947-22-2 museum standards Audiovisual technician: Michael Krupica © mumok 2015 Press: Karin Bellmann. Yoko Ono. mumok. Jörg Wolfert and Team Lenders to the Exhibition: Marina Abramović and Galerie Krinzinger. Alfred Pauderer. must. New York. Aktion „mit einem menschlichen Dagmar Steyrer Körper“.mumok. August 2015 Jörg Wolfert info@mumok. and all lenders that wish to remain anonymous.

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