long deleted, last copy of this outstanding box: Hermann Nitsch is perhaps the best known of the notorious Vienna Actionists. His carefully choreographed performance art frequently involves cacophonous noise, buckets of blood and animal dismemberment, turning gory excess into ritualistic spectacle. Nitsch's undoubted Gesamtkunstwerk is his Des Orgien Mysterien Theaters, a six-day 'play' that was first performed in its entirety in 1998 at the artist's Prinzendorf Castle, in his native Austria.
The performance alternated periods of contemplative quiet with bellowing hullabaloo, and if listening to an eight CD recording from a single day is something of an endurance test, imagine how intensely exhausting the full event must have been. The OM Theater draws on a number of motifs from mythology, although on the pictorial evidence in this box, the crucifixion of Christ is a major reference. The set as a whole is an excellent production, with brief excerpts from the 300-odd page score, gloriously colourful photos (mostly bright red, inevitably, but some of flowers or tomatoes, not just blood), manifestos, a layout plan for the performance and what I assume is an incense stick.