Performance

»I have always been interested in transporting sensual images and sensual impression within language through dramatic action. Echoing Arno Holz, my language then became increasingly baroque. When it started to swell and get out of hand more and more, I asked myself in 1958 why I write at all, instead of exposing the viewer to actual sensual impressions. This caused a major turn, and the idea of my current Action Theater was born. Initially I wanted to provide the audience with sensual impressions through concepts and texts only. And the earliest attempts were still tied to the spoken word. At the same time, the audience had to register certain sensations of taste, smell, and touch. For example, I had them taste saccharine water, sugar, fruit, salt, or sour milk. I had them smell flowers. Urine, blood, and fuel were spilled. That was the jump from language forms that appeal to sensual impression to the experience of actual sensations. With each traditional poem, whether it is a poem by Rilke, Goethe, or Hölderlin, a sensual impression is cited through language. This impression calls for the memory of the fragrance of flowers or the smell of lukewarm water. Instead of reminding of something through my Actions, I want to achieve the actual perception of sensual impressions. As I mentioned, language always tells of what has been, and in the characterization of sensual impressions the memory of these impressions is cited. If language speaks of the fragrance of a lemon tree, along with the memory of this fragrance poetry emerges in the brain. With me, however, the experience of now, the waking up in the present, takes priority.«

Hermann Nitsch, 1998

Foto: Tobias Roch, Hagen Bildrechte: VG Bild Kunst, Bonn 2014 Bildrechte: gemeinfrei, Foto: Peter Hinschläger Bildrechte: Calder Foundation New York / Foto Stiftung Lehmbruck Museum

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