Cosinus Alpha


Black and white photograph

29.5 x 23.5 cm (11 5/8 x 9 1/4 in.)

These two black and white photographs are of Cosinus Alpha, one of Otto Muehl's major performances. Two completely naked women, including the artist's companion, are intimately embracing. The erotic scene occurs in the artist's flat. He intervenes like an officiant, covering the couple with flour. 

Muehl staged this happening in the mid-1960s, when as a key figure of Viennese Actionism he aimed to overthrow “respectable” art with radical performances. Part of a series called Materialaktionen (material-actions), the work looks like a blasphemous sexual rite where the body is both object and medium. 

Cosinus Alpha is being presented for the first time by the Pinault Collection during the “Untitled, 2020” show at the Punta della Dogana in Venice in 2020.