1986, 24 pp., 18 b/w illus., paperback
Essays by Thomas McEvilley and Johannes Gachnang
"Meanwhile, exquisite white wines are ripening deep underground in cool vaults and wine cellars, where they naturally taste best as well, especially around Pentecost." -Johannes Gachnang
The Austrian psyche has historically grappled with its own existence, plumbing the depths of consciousness to the point of both extreme decadence and extreme despair. This annihilating ecstasy that seeks to break through the bounds of ego and id, is a gesture perhaps most dramatically enacted in the works of the Aktionismus group, for whom the body was the ultimate medium of self-expression. The three artists in this exhibition catalogue, Brus, Nitsch and Rainer, continue the Aktionismus tradition, escalating desire, rage and dread in drawings that confront the limits of human existence. The catalogue essay by Thomas McEvilley considers the Dionysian impulse behind the theatre and performance tradition for which Aktionismus is best known, while Gachnang's essay considers these drawings in relation to that tradition and within the broader context of Austria's troubled modern history.