Günter BRUS (b. 1938)

Günter Brus (b. 1938, Ardning, Austria). Inspired by German and Austrian Expressionism at the turn of the century, Brus began his career as a commercial graphic artist. Returning from a stint in the Austrian army, he began to experiment with the traditional act of painting and is now regarded as one of the founding and key members of Viennese Actionism.


Brus used painting as a way of acting out the traumatic and existential, using the human body as a vehicle for expression. His deeply controversial performances led to his notoriety as 'Austria's most disliked citizen'.


In his 6th Action: Vienna Walk (1965) he walked through the city of Vienna as a 'living picture', fully painted in white, with a black line dividing his body in two halves. The performance ended with the police arresting the artist and fining him. In 1968 he performed Body Analysis Action no.33, aimed at denouncing fascist state politics: he cut himself with a razor-blade, drunk his urine, covered his naked body with feces and masturbated while singing the Austrian anthem. A 6-month police detention followed this and after his release he fled to Berlin with his family where he lived until 1976.


Brus was awarded the prestigious Grand Austrian State Prize (1997). A collection of his works can be found in the Bruseum, Graz' Neue Galerie; Tate, London; and the Sammlung Friedrichshof, Austria.


Visit the online page that TATE dedicates to the artist.