color theory 1979-91
in Carl Aigner (ed.), Hermann Nitsch. Die Farblehre Das O. M. Theaters (St. Pölten/Salzburg, 2007), pp. 8-10
my color theory is only concerned with the phenomenon of color. for me, it is not about seeing color scientifically, but about how the artist can use color. abstracted from the world, it is about the phenomenon of color, the greatest diversity of colors, their beauty, and the possibility of enhancing this beauty through combinatorics. their usefulness for my o. m. theater and, in turn, their synesthetic relations to other sensory impressions should be explored. another concern is to what extent color harmonics, a feeling for creating with colors, can be taught and passed on to younger people. the most extreme notion of deluded, benumbing flesh and the resultant state of mind is extinguishment, unbornness, nirvana, nothingness. the bottomless abyss of night, of nothingness, the absence of light, of colors, the dark absence of everything, of all senses, all consciousness, all being has been declared the goal of everything finite. but this abysmal absence should not just be seen as the end of all being, but also as the beginning of all being. (in the beginning there was nothing [god created the world out of nothing]).
all structures of being converge in a bottomless pit. the bigger the world has conceived itself, the more intensely creation pushes towards being, the more enormous being, in actualizing itself, moves towards eternity and infinity, the greater the absence of all things in nothingness.
let us begin with the night again, with the uterine night of nothingness, with the chamber of death and the birth of everything. out of this night, in which dramatic events of tremendous force occur in immense cycles that include the duration, birth and death of galaxies and cosmoses through so-called primeval explosions (urknall, big bang), light is born. fierce pain, the trauma of birth, everything tragic (death and life) are all concentrated after the BIRTH OF LIGHT in one (ball of light) that radiates light from every imaginable sun in our cosmos. this amorphous ball of light that, shining and blinding out of the depths of chaos provokes the boundaries of space, latently contains everything. to begin with, there is all the light and color of the expanses. to begin with, there is the formation of luminous (life-giving) suns and solar systems, our galaxy and billions of galaxies. out of this light, geometry is born, and energy; heavenly forces are born. the forces of nature, released from chaos, provide consciousness along orderly geometric paths, within which celestial bodies move and pass. LIGHT expands into the sound of the spheres. the light of the mighty suns covers endless worlds with verdant, vigorous life, right down to the flesh of the spirit. spectrum analysis is able to determine the chemical makeup of the stars by examining their light. everything that exists is color, these colors are brought to life, are tinted, by the light of the SUNS. tremendous processes, splitting atoms produce light, colors pleasing to our eyes. all colors come into being, come into existence. colors glow, our blissful eyes are dazzled by their splendor and rapture.
the atmosphere turns to color. the aerial perspective tinges the lush warm colors, the scents and fragrances of fresh flowers.
light is discharged in a range of colors. we see a warm, scented glow in our GARDENS: of fleshy damp cherry red, poppy blossom blue, blood red, sour cherry red, wine red, purple grape, tulip red, fiery scarlet, chasuble orange, chasuble red, a moist meaty red, fleshy peach, fleshy apricot, jasmine white, lilac white, yolk yellow, lilac blue, lavender blue, frankincense blue, daffodil blue, daffodil white, violet blue, cyclamen purple, lily-of-the-valley white, yolk yellow, raspberry red, passion fruit violet, cornflower blue, aquamarine, sky blue, grass green, greenish gold, tulip white, lilac white, snow white, a warm, windswept white, rain-soaked forest green, tea rose yellow, pollen yellow, honey yellow, honey brown, poppy blue, sugar brown, malt brown, coffee brown, chamomile yellow, chrome yellow, bitter yellow, golden yellow, gladiola red, gladiola pink, violet, orangey red.
light is basically not something nice. it has been wrested from chaos through a painful birth.
the phenomena surrounding us are marked by color, differently tinged, drawn, designated, the visible may ring out. color does not just manifest itself in how it appears to the eye; it reverberates colorfully in music, in sounds, in the realities of harmonies and dissonances.
color is a force that transcends what the eye can see. what is the purpose of the most magnificent, flowery damp, pulpy, soft colors within our bodies? of the rich colors of our vital organs?
the warm blood, which pulses through our veins, through the fleshy, pumping chambers of the heart and the light tulip red lungs, is for now invisible. only the wound exposes blood the wound, signalizing death, makes the magnificent color of blood, with its lust for life, glisten. otherwise, all these colors are invisible. and yet the power they exert extends to all the vital events in our bodies.
the insides of fruits are familiar with colored pulp. farther down, in the depths of the sea, in the absolute darkness of the sea, where no ray of sun ever penetrates, there is life, deep sea plants, deep sea fish. they are particularly resplendent in their colors. they create a profuse, lavish riot of colors that nobody can perceive as such. if one opens the bodies of these animals, an even greater colored frenzy of slimy organs appears. it becomes evident that color may assume a function that goes beyond that of merely meeting our gaze.
my actions are a departure to color, to the deep secret of color. colors, torn from the hearts and innards of slaughtered animals. meat becomes the flesh of flowers. anger and splitting atoms produce color. a tremendous power and anger about creation makes everything glow, bringing color to its birth, bringing things to their appearance, to their colored, breathing vitality, and alongside colors, back materials of flowers. not until all of these, the galaxies, the solar systems, the countless suns and expanses have woken to frenzies of light and color, does the highest form of the living, the luminous figure of the redeemer in a white robe, the reawakened, sunlit, radiant countenance of the laughing resurrected savior (isenheimer altar) reveal itself. his face is bathed by the light of all the suns of our cosmos, the starry heavens behind him.