By Karlyn De Jongh & Sarah Gold
In May 2010, Karlyn and Sarah were 'crucified'
in Hermann Nitsch's “130th Aktion”, in Naples, Italy. In the week before the
actual event, they took part in the rehearsals and met Nitsch every day to talk
with him about experiencing life and his Orgien Mysterien Theater. On the day
of the “Aktion”, Karlyn and Sarah were blindfolded, naked, bound to their
crosses, to feel, hear, taste and smell all that was happening to them in the
Museo Hermann Nitsch. The following text is an excerpt from the interviews that
were published in their book “HERMANN NITSCH: UNDER MY SKIN”:
Sarah Gold: Nitsch, You have
told us that your mother used to ask you: "Why are you doing this
you have any idea why you made this so called ‘nonsense’?
Hermann Nitsch: In a positive way, you come very close to
me now. Now I will not answer you with academic rubbish, but I made it because
I was convinced that it was necessary and still is. To work in this way and to
question the world in this way. Christ said: “What is truth?” It was Pontius
Pilate and Pilate makes an incredibly great figure in the New Testament. The
fact that he washed his hands and really did not want to have anything to do
with politics and, then plainly asks: “What is truth?” I want that too. I have
always fought for the truth. One cannot reach the truth, but you can move in
the direction of the truth. I never wanted to improve the world as a whole for
that, the world is far too great, too difficult, too complex. You can only
extract great moments from the world, in terms of large deep experiences that
penetrate into being. But Being is actually the thing in itself. Since
everything is inside of it: the terrible abyss, and the glorious splendor, the
greatest moments of joy and the deepest holes. And yes, I have always fought. I
would say, it was for the truth of Being.
Karlyn De Jongh: Now you have been
creating your work for about 50 years. Having lived in Vienna I am of the
opinion that the Viennese Actionism was destined to arise there, have you been
able to change something? Have you in your environment, or perhaps even to a
larger extent, made a difference?
HN: Look, a great example for me is Freud. Whether the
therapeutic success of Freud was really so great is a question I do not want
and even cannot answer. But he had a great influence on our whole culture, even
on mythology and theology. Actually, he preventively has eliminated
dispositions towards the classic Freud Neurosis through his educational work.
In this sense, he was therapeutic in insight therapy and that is for me also
the case. I do not believe in an improvement of human beings, or an improvement
of nature. But I think that we can use the conditions that we have better and
more intense and that everyone by himself, can intensively develop his Being.
SG: Now, from today on, you will
live maybe 10 years more… These last 10 years, what can
you still give us as a final acchord?
HN: I would like to make the most beautiful thing I am
perhaps still able to make. I would like my work to become more colorful in
every respect, and more undogmatic, unspeakably a message of Being. That Being
says: “Come to me,” you are created to be and experience it. You do not
experience it in hell, not in distress and not in pain, but you experience it
in the greatest joy. Just look at the suffering and the Cross, the tragedy, the
tragic and death, in the eye. The images of wars and Holocaust unfortunately,
that all belongs to Being. I would like to be on the side, just because I have
intimately and altruistically experienced Being. In that moment I am then fully
there, when I am completely in luck, then I do not understand humanity. Another
10 years? Visions for the future, I am not really as interested in them as I am
in experiencing the moment, the now, the experience.