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Rudolf Schwarzkogler (1940–1969) / Walter Kindler (* 1940)
1st Action, Wedding
From a portfolio with text sheets, 10 photo- and 6 serigraphs, edited by Pari & Dispari, Guiseppe Morra and F. Conz
Austria, Vienna, 6.2.1965
C-Print, 62 x 51 cm
Stamped „pari editori & dispari”, signed in ink „Edith Adam” on the lower left, numbered „69/75” on the upper right, on the reverse

Rudolf Schwarzkogler was the youngest of the four protagonists of Viennese Actionism. He executed his first action in 1965, one year after the beginnings of his colleagues Hermann Nitsch and Otto Mühl and three years after Günter Brus. Due to his early suicide Schwarzkogler’s actionist oeuvre remained relatively small. Between 1965 and 1966 he conducted six actions that were photographically documented.

Schwarzkogler’s 1st action „Hochzeit” (wedding) was the only one that was held in front of an audience. It took place at the apartment of his friend Heinz Cibulka, who was also involved in the performance, Günter Brus’ wife Anni represented the bride, Schwarzkogler himself was the protagonist. Apart from Schwarzkogler’s closest circle of friends, such as Mühl, Nitsch and Brus, there were three photographers present who documented the proceedings - Ludwig Hoffenreich, Walter Kindler and Siegfried Klein (Kasaq).

Even though some elements of Schwarzkogler’s actions can be compared to the concepts bv Nitsch, Mühl and Brus, already in his first actions he showed his own extraordinary aesthetics. In contrast to his colleagues, he incorporated the room in his concept. For his 1st action he created a special setting: He painted the room blue and white and placed certain blue objects in it- such as a cylinder, a globe and two planks. He arranged utensils reminding of a laboratory on a white set table, amongst them fish, a chicken wrapped in paper, fine crystals in different colours, glasses filled with blue colour, as well as gauze bandages and surgical instruments. Typical attributes of Schwarzkogler’s work are the mirror and the globe that reappear as motifs in his following actions. A similarly important part was the dissection of the fish, symbolising eroticism, coldness, illness, danger and death.

For several reasons Schwarzkogler was not happy with the course the action took, he was a perfectionist and felt irritated and disturbed by the presence of the audience and the three photographers. For this reason he changed the concept and began to perform his actions alone or with the help of only one photographer present to take images. This distinguished him from his colleagues.

Michaela Seiser, © WestLicht

Lit.: Eva Badura-Triska, Hubert Klocker, Rudolf Schwarzkogler - Leben und Werk, ed. by Museum Moderner Kunst Wien, Klagenfurt 1992.