Action artist Hermann Nitsch buried

Father Friedhelm Mennekes celebrated the funeral mass in Latin in the church of Prinzendorf.

Vienna/Prinzendorf. Action artist Hermann Nitsch, who died on April 18, was buried today, Saturday afternoon. Father Friedhelm Mennekes celebrated the funeral mass in Latin in the church of Prinzendorf. The altar was decorated with a painting by the world-famous artist, with Nitsch himself laid out in a plain wooden coffin in front of it. Among the numerous wreaths were wreaths of the Federal President and the Governor of Lower Austria.

The farewell party, the funeral procession and the burial became the last, impressive and thoroughly designed action of an artist who had combined orgiastic elements of archaic rituals and the strict rites of the Catholic Church in his work on an equal footing. The chasubles (with journalist Michael Fleischhacker a prominent acolyte was also involved) were evidently taken from Nitsch’s rich oeuvre in this regard and treated with red or yellow paint.

Action artist Hermann Nitsch buried

“We come together in mourning – and yet it is a celebration,” said Mennekes at the beginning of the fair. “I’m talking about Hermann Nitsch, whose faithful soul I know.” He recalled that Nitsch had died on the second day of Easter and that he had worked into his artistic work both looking into the abyss and hoping for paradise. The celebration took place in the close circle of family, friends and colleagues. Among the approximately 150 mourners were NÖKU boss Paul Gessl, the collector couple Agnes and Karlheinz Essl, the museum director and Nitsch biographer Danielle Spera, the gallery owners Miryam Charim and Ursula Krinzinger and the visibly hurt former governor of Lower Austria Erwin Proell.

Bull carrier richly decorated with flowers

The coffin was then carried in a procession by about three dozen friends (among them the artist Erwin Wurm) carried to the castle of Prinzendorf. A last act of love, which quite obviously literally weighed heavily, as shown by the often necessary setting down of the stretcher. Under the command “Grab the handles. Up. And: Forward!” we continued in several stages in the direction of the castle and through the magnificent avenue to the peacocks calling in the castle garden. Nitsch bought the palace in 1971 and subsequently restored it. It became the artist’s most important place of residence and work, in 1998 the performance site of his 6-day play and now his final resting place.

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The artist, who began as a member of the Vienna Actionists, later combined text, music, painting and performance into a unique synthesis of the arts in a simple crypt that had been made in the palace park over the past few days, and was 83 years old, according to his wishes, to his final resting place bedded. The first two days of the new 6-day game, which was canceled last year due to corona, should still take place on July 30th and 31st – now without their creator.