Black and white photograph
23.5 x 17.5 cm (9 1/4 x 6 7/8 in.)
This black-and-white photograph's subject is a penis from which a rose seems to emerge, as if placed out of nowhere on an immaculate card. It belongs to an extensive series documenting Muehl's 1965 performance Penisaktion. In a solitary ritual, he shows himself completely naked, inflicting abuse and metamorphoses on his sex with the help of an assistant.
Otto Muehl, a leading figure of Viennese Actionism, staged this happening in 1964. His radical, shocking performative works aimed to denounce post-Fascist Austria's smug conservatism. His uninhibited actions directly involved his or others' bodies. Different parts of the body (head, sex, leg or finger) were alternately exhibited, isolated and covered with various materials such as flour, pigments or even blood.
Penisaktion is being presented for the first time by the Pinault Collection during the “Untitled, 2020” exhibition at the Punta della Dogana in Venice in 2020.
Photo: Ludwig Hoffenreich
Otto MUEHL © Adagp, Paris, 2023