Professor Kristine Stiles will discuss artist Günter Brus’ Zerreißprobe.

Body Art: Between the ‘Who’ and the ‘What’ of Love

Kristine Stiles, France Family Professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Duke University

The Austrian artist Günter Brus’ Zerreißprobe (July 19, 1970) remains the Alpha and Omega of body art nearly five decades after he presented the action in Munich’s Aktionsraum I, an early “alternative space.” The twenty-five-minute performance continues to defy description or to capture the sensate sounds, smells, and sight of Brus’ self-afflicted psychic ordeal and corporeal abjection, or the affective power of the photographs of his action on artists for the next fifty years. This talk discusses Zerreißprobe, considers the many renowned performance artists throughout the world that were influenced by it, presents the work in a new theoretical context, and comments on the reception of Body and Action Art today.

Kristine Stiles is the France Family Professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies at Duke University. She specializes in contemporary global art, especially performance and conceptual art, artists’ writings, trauma and destruction in art. Stiles has published over one hundred articles and lectured throughout the world. Among her books are Concerning Consequences: Studies in Art, Destruction, and Trauma (2016); Theories & Documents of Contemporary Art (1996, 2012); Correspondence Course: An Epistolary History of Carolee Schneemann and Her Circle (2010).