Hermann Nitsch was born in Vienna on 29 August 1938. After graduating from the Graphische Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt in Vienna Nitsch was employed as a graphic designer at the technical museum in 1957. Privately Nitsch oriented himself at first to Expressionism, which he combined with religious figure scenes. From 1960 on after attending to literature, Nitsch resumed painting with works in Informel style.
The same year he organised his first painting events and began working on the idea of the "Orgien Mysterien Theater" (Theatre of Orgies and Mysteries). The activities with the aim to experience various matters and liquids became more and more provacative over the following years. After shouting and noise events Hermann Nitsch realised lamb tearrings which led to more actions with meat.
Since 1963 his actions led to numerous confrontations with the police and several weeks of imprisonment which resulted in the artist's move to Germany in 1968. After the success of this "Orgien Mysterien Theater" in the USA and in Germany at the end of the 1960s Nitsch arranged "Aktionen" (events) in numerous European and North American cities during the 1970s.
In 1971 he managed to acquire the lower Austrian palace Prinzendorf from the church where Hermann Nitsch could stage large "Aktionen" and was finally able to realise his ideas of music in his theatre. He uses noise orchestras, screaming people and electronically amplified instruments.
Hermann Nitsch interprets life as a passion, the process of painting as a concentrated form of life and thus as the incarnation of passion. The artist himself maintains a presence in his works by positioning the gowns he wore during the painting process in prominent positions in his paintings and thus animates the viewer to identify with the artist and the painting process and to enter into the painting with him.
Highlights of Nitsch's projects were the "Drei Tage Spiel" in Prinzendorf in 1984 or the cycle of "Schüttbilder", which he produced at the Vienna Secession in 1987. Nitsch realised the ideal of the "6 Tage Spiel" in 1998. Since the 1990s his art was honoured more often with exhibitions, which were often accompanied by the artist's actions.
Nitsch was able to establish himself as an appreciated artist in a changed socio-political situation. After teaching as a guest professor at the Frankfurt Art Academy "Städelschule" and the Art Academy in Hamburg Nitsch taught interdisciplinary art in Frankfurt/Main from 1989.
In 2004 he accepted a guest professorship at the university of Vienna at the Institute of dramatics. Hermann Nitsch received even public commissions, e.g. for the furnishing of the drama "Le Renard" at the Viennese Staatsoper in 2005. Nitsch lives and works at his castle in Prinzendorf, Lower Austria.
Related artists: Bissier, Julius Heinrich | Bott, Francis | Brodwolf, Jürgen | Brüning, Peter | Buchheister, Carl | Caspar-Filser, Maria | Cavael, Rolf | Corpora, Antonio | Dahmen, Karl Fred | Fautrier, Jean | Gaul, Winfred | Girke, Raimund | Götz, Karl Otto | Hartung, Hans | Hartung, Karl | Hoehme, Gerhard | Imai, Toshimitsu | Jenkins, Paul | Jorn, Asger | Kirkeby, Per | Kricke, Norbert | Mathieu, Georges | Matschinsky-Denninghoff, Martin und Brigitte | Michaux, Henri | Music, Zoran | Nay, Ernst Wilhelm | Prachensky, Markus | Rainer, Arnulf | Santomaso, Giuseppe | Schultze, Bernard | Schumacher, Emil | Sonderborg, K.R.H. (d.i. Kurt R. Hoffmann) | Soulages, Pierre | Staudacher, Hans | Stöhrer, Walter | Tàpies, Antoni | Thieler, Fred | Tinguely, Jean | Tobey, Mark | Trier, Hann | Werner, Theodor | Wessel, Wilhelm | Westpfahl, Conrad | Winter, Fritz | Wols, (d.i. Wolfgang Schulze) | Wou-Ki, Zao | Wunderlich, Paul | Zangs, Herbert | Zimmer, Bernd