Body Art is an artistic concept of the 20th century. This art movement emerged in the 1960s from the Happening and Fluxus movements. The body serves both as an art medium and as an art object. It often involves performances, photography and video art. The focus can be on the figurative aspect of the human body, the human skin as a surface or painting ground, or the action or interaction between the bodies.
Body art can therefore be close to figurative art, sculpture, action art, painting or graphic art, but also to conceptual art. The artists sometimes inflict injuries and pain on themselves, thus treating their bodies as "material".
Well-known representatives of Body Art include Marina Abramović, Chris Burden, Vito Acconci, Günter Brus, Dennis Oppenheim, Gina Pane, Pippilotti Rist, Carolee Schneemann, Annegret Soltau, Urs Lüthi, Jürgen Klauke, Rudolf Schwarzkogler, Peter Gilles, Valie Export, Timm Ulrichs, but also the representatives of Viennese Actionism at the end of the 1960s.
The essential characteristic of body art is to attack the viewer. The aesthetics of the artwork is determined by the extent to which the viewer's habits of thought are upset and he is brought out of his passive behaviour. Shock and disgust effects are deliberately provoked.