Ritið 1/17

Ritið 1/17 - 2017

Sólveig Guðmundsdóttir: Indecent Performances and Radical Mysteries. Regarding Pornography, Satanic Worship and Vitalism in Hermann Nitsch’s Abreaktionsspiel

In the article the performance of Hermann Nitsch, Abreaktionsspiel, is dissected with the intent to investigate the manifestations of pornography and occultism within the work as well as the intricate discursive links between them. Nitsch’s action is a descriptive example of the importance of pornographic discourse in the arts, but by examining pornography in its interrelation with occult and esoteric discourse a new perspective unfolds. Furthermore, the discourses of Catholic rituals, cultural dissidence, psychoanalysis and vitalism are analysed as they appear in Abreaktionsspiel, and their role within the aesthetic project and cultural dissidence of actionism is investigated. The approach is based on the methodology of historical discourse analysis and the performance is located in the cultural context of post-war Austria, in order to highlight the aims of the actionists’ provocation of prevailing values. The action is a clear example of the complex and diverse web of discourses that can be found in the works of the actionists and the different roles that they play within their dissidence and aesthetics.

Keywords: Neo-avant-garde, esotericism, pornography, actionism, historical discourse analysis

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