Material Action No. 9, Haro Lauhus’ studio, Dusseldorf
Material Action No. 9 is a performance by Otto Muehl that took place in June 1964, at the studio of gallerist Haro Lauhus, located in Dusseldorf. The subtitle of the performance is “Still Life – Action with a Female, a Male, and a Cow’s Head.” A leading figure of Viennese Actionism that drew on naked bodies, blood, public urination and defecation, staged self-mutilation, and animal slaughter, Muehl claimed in the Material Action Manifesto (1964) that unlike theater art, a symbol does not try to explain anything, but constitutes a storyline as a self-existing reality. Against the rigid, autocratic, and oppressive social climate derived from conservative and authoritarian values inherent in the bourgeois society of Austria at that time, this art movement incorporated human bodies and material objects into the traditional genres of painting, sculpture, and drawing, treating them in the form of performance.
black & white photograph
Otto Muehl (artist and performer)