Viennese actionism

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As a Viennese Actionism movement is modern art called, in 1962-1970 a group of Viennese artists, the concept of the American Happening - and Fluxus took up -Kunst and provocative transpose way. The term was coined in 1969 by Peter Weibel , a close friend of the Actionists. The protagonists of this art movement were Günter Brus , Otto Muehl , Hermann Nitsch and Rudolf Schwarzkogler .

After the Second World War, a painting emerged that did not want to depict anything that was already there. An "art to leave art" emerged. The specialization and ineffectiveness of modern art in the 1950s prompted many artists to take a completely different direction. By breaking taboos, the artists wanted to provoke a society that was only oriented towards consumption.

In this way, Viennese activism turned against repressive social conditions and consciously sought confrontation with state and church authority. On the one hand, mechanisms of open and, above all, hidden (suppressed) cruelty and perversion in bourgeois society were to be depicted via drastic expressions and aggressive taboo violations, on the other hand, this very society was to be shocked - which was also achieved. The Viennese actionists achieved particular fame through the action by Brus, Muehl and Oswald Wiener on June 7, 1968, which the media referred to as uni piggy , which resulted in an indictment of all those involved.

After 1970 the artistic paths of the group parted. Muehl and Nitsch still make action art sporadically , but this is no longer referred to as Viennese actionism.

The Viennese Actionism is related to the Wiener Gruppe and other Viennese intellectuals and artists of the time, such as Valie Export , Adolf Frohner , Kurt Kren , Gerhard Rühm , Alfons Schilling , Peter Weibel , Oswald Wiener and Otmar Bauer . The Viennese actionism, however, developed very isolated from international cultural events, as Vienna was culturally on the fringes and the majority of the population reacted with horror to the radical nature of the actions.

Wolfgang Flatz is one of those artists whose work clearly shows the influence of Viennese Actionism.


  • Eva Badura-Triska u. a .: Viennese Actionism - Art and Awakening in Vienna in the 1960s. MUMOK , Vienna 2012 ISBN 978-3-902490-73-5 .
  • Rosemarie Brucher: We are healed through his wounds. Self-harm as a substitute act in Günter Brus' action art. Löcker, Vienna 2008 ISBN 978-3-85409-499-9 .
  • Carola Dertnig , Stefanie Seibold ( eds .): Let's twist again: what you can't think, you should dance. Performance in Vienna from 1960 to today: a psychogeographical sketch , DEA Buch- und Kunstverlag Gumpoldskirchen 2006, ISBN 3-901867-16-3
  • Thomas Dreher: Performance Art after 1945. Action theater and intermedia . Munich, Wilhelm Fink 2001, ISBN 3-7705-3452-2 , chap. 2.5 Wiener Aktionismus, pp. 163–298 ( online ).
  • Thomas Eder : "Different things are / good". Reinhard Priessnitz and the repoetization of the avant-garde . Munich, Wilhelm Fink 2003, chap. 3, Reinhard Priessnitz and Wiener Aktionismus, pp. 149–192. ISBN 3-7705-3813-7 .
  • Peter Gorsen : The afterlife of Viennese actionism. Interpretations and comments since 1969 . Ritter, Klagenfurt 2008 ISBN 3-85415-419-4 .
  • Malcolm Green: Brus Muehl Nitsch Schwarzkogler. Writings of the Viennese Actionists . London: Atlas Press 1999.
  • Oliver Jahraus: The action of Viennese actionism. Subversion of culture and disposition of consciousness . Munich, Wilhelm Fink 2001.
  • Hubert Klocker (ed.): Wiener Aktionismus, Vol. 2. Vienna 1960–1971. The shattered mirror . Klagenfurt: Ritter, 1989.
  • Museum Fridericianum , Kunstmuseum Winterthur u. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (ed.): From Action Painting to Actionism. Vienna 1960–1965 . Ritter, Klagenfurt 1988 ISBN 3-85415-059-8 .
  • Laura Rose: The Feminine in Viennese Actionism and the Emergence of Females in Performance Art , essay with illustrations ( online )
  • Dieter Schwarz: Action painting - Actionism. Vienna 1960–1965. A chronology . Zurich: Seedorn, 1988.
  • Ivanceanu / Schweikhardt: Actionism all inclusive . Vienna, Passagen Verlag 2001. ISBN 3-85165-510-9 .
  • Valie Export u. Peter Weibel (Ed.): Vienna: Bildkompendium Wiener Aktionismus und Film . Kohlkunstverlag, Frankfurt 1970.

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