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Otto Muhl, Materialtheater, Haro Lauhus’ studio, Düsseldorf
Date/ 1964.6
Artist(Credit Line)/ Manfred Leve
Classification/ Photography
Dimensions / 20.3×25.4cm (8x10inch)
Medium / B&W Photograph

This is a performance of Otto Muehl’s Material Action No.9 taking place in gallerist Haro Lauhus’ studio in Düsseldorf in June 1964. Its subtitle is “Still Life – Action with a Female, a Male, and a Cow’s Heads.” A leading figure of Viennese Actionism that drew on naked bodies, blood, public urination and defecation, staged self-mutilation, and killing of animals, Muehl claimed in 1964 Material Action Manifesto to work with symbols that do not aim to explain anything, differently from the theater, which in themselves constitute a storyline as self-existing realities. 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, by dealing directly with them as substance in the form of actions.
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