For the 80th anniversary of the birthday of Adolf Frohner (1943–2007), the Forum Frohner takes a comprehensive look back on his life-work in cooperation with the Essl Museum.
While the show at the Essl Museum is a retrospective survey exhibition, the Forum Frohner focuses on the beginnings of his art career in the circle around Otto Muehl and Hermann Nitsch, who went down in Austrian art history for an action entitled “Blood Organ.”
“We wanted to commit this patricide […]!” was Frohner’s analysis of Nitsch’s, Muehls’s and his own motivation to pull off the spectacular art action which, together with a manifesto of the same title, is considered as marking the beginning of Viennese Actionism.
Conceptualized as a three-day immurement, the action took place in a basement studio from June 1 to 4, 1962. It had a particular formative influence on Frohner’s development and career and from today’s perspective marked the origin of his formal conceptions between object, picture, and relic that explored the idea of an aesthetic of the ugly.
Aside from documentary materials about the “Blood Organ” art action, the exhibition features some of Frohner’s central mixed-material works from the 1960s, like “Gutted” or “The High Bed of Rituals.” The fact that the Actionist vocabulary also informed the artist’s painterly works become clear from the dialogical juxtaposition with works by Nitsch and Muehl from the 1960s. The exhibition thus traces Frohner’s search for a fresh start in visual art after the caesura of World War II.
Curators: Dieter Ronte, Elisabeth Voggeneder