Since 1957, Nitsch has been addressing the intensification of human existence through his ritualistic performance art, most prominently “The Orgien Mysterien Theater.” With more than 100 performances to date, these staged Dionysian performances are replete with mock religious sacrifices and crucifixion, blood, entrails, robes, dance and nude participants. Religious tropes are all here; the intensity resembles scenes from Grünewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece, the carcasses nod towards Rembrandt’s hanging meats.
The performance works summon the synthesis of all senses to reveal deep universal truths. In these interpretations of pagan ceremonies, Nitsch becomes the conductor who balances his premeditated Aktions with spontaneous incidents, culminating in orgiastic frenzy – a catharsis – commanding complete dissolution of restraints from its participants. He intensifies complex themes such as creativity, politics, capitalism, innocence, sex, violence, and even questions animal cruelty. If Art is Sin, Nitsch is on a quest for the betterment of the soul.
This is not art of blasphemy or malevolence for the Church. Quite the contrary; Nitsch venerates Christianity whose history is charged with symbols and ceremonies of sacrifice, and whose origins assumed some pagan ritual. Nor is this art that disregards animals; Nitsch does not sacrifice live animals, a fact not understood by detractors. He procures animal cadavers that have been slaughtered professionally for meat. That his performances and work at times engenders such strong protest is understandable – Nitsch’s art is certainly unsettling and, as with some of the great artists, it is both unyielding and revealing. It asks questions that are not always comfortable. It is fearless and necessary.
His paintings record the corporeal existence of its contributors on their lush surfaces – the hysterical shuffle of dance, a smear, a bloody mark. In the same vein as Gutai’s Kazuo Shiraga’s suspended performances, the anthropometric records of Yves Klein or the shamanistic displays of Jackson Pollock, Nitsch explores the human body as a vehicle for his paintings. Wittgenstein’s decree “The human body is the best picture of the human soul” comes alive in Nitsch’s paintings.
The paintings are beautiful abstractions symbolizing what it means to be human. They are graceful violent palimpsests, full of vitality but also quiet for contemplation, representing a life of originality, courage and dissidence.
Hermann Nitsch (b. 1938, Vienna, Austria) lives and works at Prinzendorf Castle on the Zaya River, Lower Austria. His works are exhibited in the two Nitsch Museums in Mistelbach and Naples as well as in the Nitsch Foundation in Vienna and can be found in the permanent collections of preeminent international museums and galleries, including: MoMA, Guggenheim, The Metropolitan Museum New York, Tate Gallery London, The Centre Pompidou Paris, Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich and many more.
ABOUT MARC STRAUSS
Established in 2011, MARC STRAUS is a contemporary art gallery in the Lower East Side of New York, occupying a fully reconstructed four-story historical building on Grand Street.
The gallery identifies and fosters some of the best international talent, representing 17 artists from 12 different countries. Additionally, the gallery has taken a position of showing older artists who have not for decades, or in some cases ever, been looked at in the proper light. It is this element of discovery and re-discovery, that has established MARC STRAUS as one of New York’s leading contemporary art galleries.
In June 2014, FlashArt listed the gallery among the TOP 100 in the world. Critical reviews of gallery exhibitions have appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Telegraph UK, Forbes, Hyperallergic, Art in America, ArtNews, ARTFORUM, The Brooklyn Rail and more.
MARC STRAUS gallery artists have works acquired by international museums such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The National Gallery of Canada, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Denver Art Museum, The Smithsonian Institute, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Guggenheim, Tate Gallery London, Musée Centre George Pompidou Paris, Whitney Museum of American Art, and many more. Gallery artists have been included in the Venice and Prague Biennials, Prospect New Orleans and Site Santa Fe. Further extending its program to a wider audience, the gallery has participated in major art fairs both in the US and on an international platform in Europe and Asia.
Gabriele Beveridge (b. 1985, Hong Kong) has exhibited internationally in the United States and Europe. Recent solo exhibitions include: Health and Strength, La Salle de Bains, Lyon, FR, Mistake or Design, Zabludowicz Collection, London, UK and Incidental Healer, Van Horbourg, Zurich, CH.
Gabriele Beveridge employs the language of beauty and consumer display in her practice. By isolating, juxtaposing, layering and ultimately recontextualizing objects including found images, shop fittings, semi-precious stones and hand blown glass, the artist is able to rupture and rearrange the conventional staging of attraction and desire. These visual strategies work less to dismantle conventions of the beautiful than to exaggerate them to a point where they are made alien, initiating a fluctuation between the attractive and the unfamiliar. The ordered allure of the shop window or beauty poster is thus rendered sublime and contemplative through its own excess.
ABOUT PARISIAN LAUNDRY
PARISIAN LAUNDRY is a privately owned Canadian incorporated company. Opened in 2005, the gallery’sunparalleled industrial 3 storey building serves as a cultural destination exhibition and project space that is situated in the historically blue collar neighborhood of St. Henri in Montreal, the only uniquely French city in in the historically blue collar neighborhood of St. Henri in Montreal, the only uniquely French city in the Americas. The gallery has been a forerunner in the development of the neighborhood, fast becoming a cultural hub in south central Montreal.
PARISIAN LAUNDRY represents living Canadian and non-Canadian artists and rotates solo presentations of their current and actual practices. Maintains a nomadic profile through a publication program as well as successfully participating in major international art fairs that offer critical solo platforms for artists. The gallery has successfully placed works in important Museum and corporate Collections such as: The National Gallery of Canada Le Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal Le Musée des beaux – arts de Montréal Le Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec La Caisse de Dépôt du Québec The Royal Bank of Canada La Banque Nationale Hydro Québec La Collection de la Ville de Montréal Collection de la Ville d’Ottawa Mouvement Desjardins.