The principal members of the group were Günter Brus, Hermann Nitsch and Rudolf Schwarzkogler. Their ‘actions’ were intended to highlight the endemic violence of humanity and were deliberately shocking, including self-torture, and quasi-religious ceremonies using the blood and entrails of animals. Nitsch gave his ceremonies the general title of Orgies-Mysteries Theatre. A less violent but no less anguished Vienna action artist of the time was Arnulf Rainer.
Actionism is the English version of the general German term for performance art, specifically used for Vienna-based group Wiener Aktionismus founded in 1962 whose actions were deliberately shocking, often including self-torture