As one of the most important pioneers of performance art, in the 1960s Günter Brus made the body the scene of his artistic efforts and scandalized the public in the process. On the occasion of his 80th birthday, the Belvedere 21 is hosting a comprehensive retrospective in appreciation of his oeuvre.

While in his early work Günter Brus used the body as the basis for the painterly process, in his later performances and actions the body serves as the screen onto which he projected his critique of society. In 1970, Brus received a prison sentence for his participation in the Viennese Kunst und Revolution event and fled into exile in Berlin. There, he produced countless cycles of drawings that build upon his experiences in Vienna, while also drafting theatre plays.

The major retrospective on the upper floor of the Belvedere 21 showcases key cycles of works by this exceptional Austrian artist in their entirety, rendering the linkages and context visible: from the early gestural paintings to his performances and actions and on to his later drawings, “picturepoems” and works for theatre. In total, more than 600 individual exhibits will be on show, including films and hitherto unknown series of works. Central themes in the retrospective include the active role that Anna Brus played in the joint performances and how Günter Brus advanced his work during his exile in Berlin. There will be a space in the exhibition dedicated to alternating projects he created jointly with fellow artists such as Arnulf Rainer, Jörg Schlick or Sophia Süßmilch.