Vienna actionists

  I have been Influenced by the Vienna actionist’s quite heavily during the Ed Gein series, mainly Nitsch with the Lamb slaughter painting/performance collaborations.
The group of the 4 artists mainly comprises work that surrounded naked human bodies, violence and destruction, as well as having an underlying sexual theme.

This links in very directly to what Gein was producing. Although with no obvious Artistic intent, i think then opens up the point is art made for the artist or for art buying public? Can art be something that cannot be sold?
Like the Actionist’s the physical act of a Performance itself cannot be captured and sold onto galleries or private investors so props and films are made to be achieved and shown at a later date.
Gein made this suit of his to use, to become another person, a character, in a world of his own making. Making furniture props for the stage in his house. This is something children would do at play dress up, Gein having a mind of a child himself, was maybe just doing that. A Performance that nobody would see, but left with the costume and props to find at his arrest.
The action of killing and destroying a human body to then dress up and transform oneself, just for personal pleasure is Psychopathic behaviour, but so close to artistic intent.
Nitsch doing this with animals did cause some controversy amongst animal activists, but with it being done with creative purpose people find this thing more acceptable.
Gein got away with grave digging for 10 years due to the fact these people were already dead. Murder came later and lead him to becoming a cannibal, which in itself is a Meat, just as carnivours would eat meat, so does Gein.

 Here is a quote of him saying how he would ideally like to work with a human corpse, perhaps Gein too was an Actionst, just a mentally unstable one.



GI: Are there any other types of animals you’d like to incorporate into your performances?


An exert i found on the .. site, where Nitsch is being interviewed about his Performance artwork and Future plans.

‘HN: I would like to use human cadavers in my performance. I’ve been trying for years to procure a human body for my theater. Universities for medicine can have cadavers for their research, why can an artist not also have access to such tools? I wouldn’t treat a human cadaver any differently than I would the carcass of a bull. It would only be used as a tool for the performance.’

read full article here

While the nature and content of each artist’s work differed, there are distinct aesthetic and thematic threads connecting the Actions of Brus, Mühl, Nitsch and Schwarzkogler. Use of the body as both surface and site of art-making seems to have been a common point of origin for the Actionists in their earliest departures from conventional art practices in the late 50s and early 60s. Brus’ “Hand Painting Head Painting” action of 1964, Mühl and Nitsch’s “Degradation of a Female Body, Degradation of A Venus” of 1963 are characterized by their efforts to reconceive human bodies as surfaces for the production of art. The trajectories of the Actionists’ work suggests more than just a precedent to later performance art and body art, rather, a drive toward a totalizing art-practice is inherent in their refusing to be confined within conventional ideas of painting, theatre and sculpture. –http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viennese_Actionism


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