LAZNIA 1 2011 - EVA BADURA-TRISKA – The role of film in Vienna Actionism

Vienna Actionism was one of the most radical artistic movements of the twentieth century and has lost none of its contentiousness today. In the early 1960s its main protagonists Günter Brus, Hermann Nitsch, Otto Muehl and Rudolf Schwarzkogler went beyond the boundaries of painting in favour of actions with real bodies, objects and substances in space and time. Their objective was a direct confrontation with sensory and psychic reality in all its aspects – including those that are tragic, difficult to stomach and above all socially repressed – thus bringing about heightened consciousness. They pursued this with a radicalism and unwillingness to compromise that is almost unparalleled in the history of art. Response to their actions, or to the photographic and filmic images these gave rise to, was and is accordingly intense. The work caused uproar and scandal – not only at the time it took place – but it also provoked discussion on taboo issues and in the end was the co-initiator of a process of social rethinking.

Eva Badura-Triska is an art historian and curator at the Museum moderner Kunst Vienna (MUMOK), where she is in charge of the collection on Vienna Actionism.

Rudolf Schwarzkogler, Zeichnung Blatt Nr. 71,  1969, Buntstift auf Papier
© Foto Mumok: Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Leihgabe der Österreichischen Ludwig Stiftung

The project is supported by Austrian Forum for Culture in Warsaw.

Municipal Institution of Culture