Hermann Nitsch

"BAYREUTH STORIES" - 522 West 19th Street, New York

April 29, 2021 to June 12, 2021
Opening reception April 29, 2021, 5-8PM

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In partnership with SLAG Gallery, New York, Galerie RX New York is honored to present Hermann Nitsch’s first solo exhibition, “Bayreuth Stories,” with paintings that trace his deep connection to the composer Richard Wagner and the concept of “Gesamtkunstwerk” - the total artwork. The New York exhibition will take place in parallel to Nitsch’s solo show at Galerie RX, Paris.

Starting with a unique “Relic” painting from 1987 through the recent colorful flower field paintings, as well as a rare set of sketches of opera costumes, we are reminded that like Wagner’s ultimate “sacred stage festival” Parsifal, where “space becomes time,” for Nitsch, art is a story of constant renewal and a celebration of life.

This exhibition is a prelude to two major events that follow:
- Nitsch’s “Malaktion” or painting action, conceived in conjunction with Wagner’s Valkyrie on July 29, August 3, and
August 19 at the Bayreuth Festival
- and the “6-Day-Play”, a vast performance at his residence in Prinzendorf, Austria, based on a carefully planned score, with hundreds of participants; a Dyonistic ritual and synaesthetic experience involving Sight, Touch, Smell, and Hearing.

The event will be the culmination of 50 years of Nitsch’s “Theater of Orgies and Mysteries,” seminal performances, which profoundly influenced artists such as Marina Abramovic, Julian Schnabel, Damien Hirst, and Paul McCarthy. The Austrian artist figured prominently in the famous 1983 exhibition by the Swiss curator Harald Szeemann, Der Hang zum Gesamtkunstwerk (The Inclination Towards a Synthesis of the Arts), a ground-breaking event which sounded the depth of possibilities of the “total artwork” for the 20th century, and inscribed Hermann Nitsch in art history.

Denise Wendel-Poray, Curator

About the Artist, Hermann Nitsch

One of the founding members of the Wiener Aktionismus (Viennese Actionism) art movement, Hermann Nitsch, born in Vienna in 1938, is also one of the most prolific members of the group.
Hermann Nitsch is particularly interested in expressionism and religious art, following his academic training. Noted as a master of Austrian performance, the continuously active artist presents a total art with sensuality: limitless, Dionysian and demonic. His mastery of many media (plastic arts, theater, music, etc.) expresses his system of values, at once spiritual, philosophical, aesthetic, and social, all taking part in his larger artwork.


Galerie RX, New York
Hermann Nitsch, “Bayreuth Stories”
Curator: Denise Wendel-Poray
April 29 > June 5, 2021
Slag & RX Galleries - 522 West 19th street, New York, NY 10011

Galerie RX, Paris
Hermann Nitsch, “Bayreuth Prélude”
Curator: Denise Wendel-Poray
April 29 > July 25, 2021
Galerie RX, Paris - 16 rue des Quatre Fils, 75003 Paris

6-Tage-Spiel, Prinzendorf
Summer 2022, course of the action over 6 days
Prinzendorf, an Der Zaya, Austria https://www.nitsch-foundation.com/en/event/the-6-day-play-2021/

Bayreuth Festival
July 29, August 3 and August 19 2021
Festspielhügel 1-2, 95445 Bayreuth, Germany https://www.bayreuther-festspiele.de/en/programm/auffuehrungen/die-walkuere/

Centre Pompidou, Metz
“Opéra Monde : La quête d’un art total” Curator: Stéphane Ghislain Roussel
June 22, 2019 > January 27, 2020

About the Curator, Denise Wendel-Poray

Denise Wendel-Poray is a Canadian writer, journalist and curator.  The author of books and essays in English and in French about the relationship among art, theater and music, she has been guest curator at the Lehmbruck Museum in Duisburg for two years, co-producer of an exhibition on William Kentridge at the Museum Rupertinum in Salzburg, and curator of solo exhibitions of artists Hermann Nitsch and Howard Hodgkin in Paris.  She has also given seminars on theater design by artists at the prestigious Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf.  As a journalist, she has written for Opera Canada Magazine, ArtPress, Quotidien de l’art, Art Review and the Wiener Kurier.  Denise Wendel-Poray lives and works in Paris.

Additional images and information can be found on the artist's pages:

Hermann Nitsch