More than Viennese Actionism
Günter Brus spared neither himself nor the general public in the 1960s. As a pioneer of Body Art, Brus focused on his own body and knew how to use it for the purpose of provocation more than any other artist of the post-war period. A bogey of the middle classes, whose means once included self-inflicted harm and the artistic use of fecal matter. There were actions with which the artist, who turns 81 this year, had a lasting impact on performance art. Alongside Hermann Nitsch and Otto Mühl, who also took a radical approach to the matter, the native Styrian became one of the most relevant representatives of Viennese Actionism.
Performance, painting, literature
Yet Brus is far more than the well-known actionist who engaged in a high-profile revolt against the staleness and parochialism of the post-war period. The retrospective "The Loneliness of a Late Classic", which can be seen in the Wienerroither & Kohlbacher gallery at Palais Schönborn-Batthyany, attempts to capture Brus in his entirety. A big undertaking, because Brus’ work is also notable for its sheer quantity. Apart from 40 actions, over the years he also created 30,000 drawings, costume and stage set designs ranging from theater to opera, as well as an extensive literary oeuvre.
Trip through the decades
Around 120 individual works can be seen during the retrospective in the Baroque rooms of the city center palace. The show is thus wide-ranging, from early works created on Majorca, to photographs of well-known actions, and drawings of the 1970s. The exhibition also includes individual sheets and the equally highly influential image poems of the 1980s and 1990s.