Austrian group of performance artists, active in the 1960s. Its
principal members were Gunter
Muhl Otto and
Herman Nitsch, who first collaborated
informally in 1961, and
was introduced to the group in 1963. Others associated with the group
included Anni Brus, the film maker
Kurt Kren, the composer Anetis
Logosthetis and the actor Heinz Cibulka. The group were influenced by
the work of Adolf Frohner (b 1934),
Rainer Arnulf and Alfons
Schilling (b 1934), who were all in turn influenced by American
action painting and by the gestural painting associated with Tachism.
The members of Aktionismus attached significance, however, not so much
to the paintings produced by the artist as to the artist as a
participant in the process of production, as a witness to creation
rather than as a creator.
Muhl, Brus and
Nitsch all felt drawn to
public performances celebrating and investigating artistic creativity
by a natural progression from their earlier sculptural or painterly
activities. In 1962
Nitsch staged their first Aktion
or performance, Blood Organ, in the Perinetgasse in Vienna. In
1965 Brus produced the booklet Le Marais to accompany an
exhibition of his work at the Galerie Junge Generation, Vienna.
Schwarzkogler all contributed, referring to themselves as
the Wiener Aktionsgruppe.