RX | New York - Chelsea

Hermann Nitsch

Bayreuth Stories

From April 29, Galerie RX New York - in partnership with SLAG Gallery, New York - will 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 - in parallel to his solo exhibition at Galerie RX, Paris.


Starting with a unique “Relic” painting from 1987 through to 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 art work” for the 20th century, and inscribed Hermann Nitsch in art history.


Denise Wendel-Poray, Curator