Günter Brus “SELBSTVERSTRICKUNG” at the Office gallery

My body is the intention. My body is the event. My body is the result.

The Office gallery, Nicosia within the walls, features Günter Brus’challenging art with a sharp sense of understanding. An exclusive series of thirteen black and white pictures introduce to Brus’ Action SELBSTVERSTRICKUNG (1965), presenting some of the strongest images recorded by the lens of Ludwig Hoffenreich in the Perinet basement in Vienna in 1965. The project remained buried in the artist’s personal archive until October 2010 and it has been showcased for the first time last Fall in Vienna. In line with the rejection of the spectators’ passive role broadcasted by the Actionism movement, the Office’s visitors are provided with some torches with which they are able to enlight Hoffenreich’s pictures showcased in complete darkness.
This allows the public to discover SELBSTVERSTRICKUNG in a deeply intimate way, embracing the sort of cathartic journey undertaken by the artist himself in the performing of the action; conceived as a ritual of psycho – hygiene and form of sacrifice.

The pictures are displayed on reversed canvas without any frame, recalling Brus‘ purpose in SELBSTVERSTRICKUNG of emerging as a living image. The actionist crawled into two-metre-high picture stringed frame stored in the Perinetkeller basement, assuming a foetal position. During the Action he entered an ecstatic rage and as a result he shredded the canvas and got tangled up in it. The living image was destroyed at the end of that exalted Action and he poured white and black paint over himself. With extreme realism, Hoffenreich captured the striking power of the performance, roughly portraying the mental and physical extremes reached by Brüs, which hit the visitors’ minds with more intensity thanks to the suggestive exhibition space. With SELBSTVERSTRICKUNG, Günter Brus‘ artistic transition from figurative painting to painting as a happening is accomplished through the complete use of the body, not only as a medium or surface, but also as material for painting. The Office gallery‘s radical and somewhat philosophical approach to art perfectly matches with Brüs controversal personality. This extraordinary consonance makes the SELBSTVERSTRICKUNG exhibition able to reconfigurate Brus‘ Action adding something unique which involves the public into a total artistic and self transcendent experience, despite Brus‘ tension was always turned towards hismself rather than the others.
I have always aspired to the animal simplicity. But I always grounded on the shore of human duplicity.

  • Günter Brus “SELBSTVERSTRICKUNG” at the Office gallery

    Article by
    Cecilia Musmeci



    Antonis Minas


    the Office

    Special Thanks

    The Office