ACTIONISM

Dates: 1962-1975

Origin: Europe

Key Artists: Günter Brus, Hermann Nitsch

An English version of a general German term for Performance art, but it was specifically used for the name of the Vienna-based group Wiener Aktionismus founded in 1962. The principal members of the group were Gunter Brus, Hermann Nitsch and Rudolph Schwarzkogler. Their ‘actions’ were intended to highlight the endemic violence of humanity and were deliberately shocking, including self-torture, and quasi-religious ceremonies using the blood and entrails of animals. Nitsch gave his ceremonies the general title of Orgies-Mysteries Theatre.

“Actionism.” Tate.org.uk. Tate.org.uk. 12 March 2010. <www.tate.org.uk/collections/glossary/definition.jsp?entryId=15>

Hermann Nitsch

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