Herman Nitsch. 56th pictorial action, 2009

Action art – the style of art in the embodiment of the absurd

Herman Nitsch. 56th pictorial action, 2009
Herman Nitsch. 56th pictorial action, 2009

Action art is an avant-garde style of painting that emerged in the 1960s. Its other name is action art, which is translated from English as “the art of action.”

The ideology of actionism is such that the artist should demonstrate not the result of the work, but its process, thereby blurring the line between reality and art. Therefore, especially radical creative figures, exploring the possibilities of painting, turned their whole lives into total action.

The founder of Actionism is the American avant-garde artist and sculptor Claes Oldenburg, famous for his giant installations in the form of stationery, food and other everyday items.

Through artistic experimentation, actionism has acquired several directions.

Action art Anthropometry of the blue period, Yves Klein 1960
Anthropometry of the blue period, Yves Klein 1960

The most colorful are performance and happening:

  • A performance is a thoughtful and planned action performed by one or more participants in front of the public of an art museum or gallery. For example, in 1965, the German artist Joseph Beuys became famous for his three-hour show “How to Explain a Picture to a Dead Hare.” Renowned photographer Spencer Tunick regularly arranges massive nude photo shoots. So in 2007 his performance numbered about 18 thousand people.
  • Happening, in contrast to performance, is a spontaneous, provoked action with the involvement of casual spectators.
Oldenburg Class Installation
Oldenburg Class Installation

Outstanding representatives of Action art :

  1. Yves Klein;
  2. Hermann Nitsch
  3. Jackson Pollock
  4. Manuel Bastante;
  5. Peter Pavlensky; Oleg Kulik.
Action art, Blume, Arnulf Rainer, 1957
Blume, Arnulf Rainer, 1957