Short biography

'The encounter with Hermann Nitsch and his work (a real shock) have stimulated my curiosity to find out what kind of man hides behind the renowned founder of Viennese Actionism. Hence the need to shoot a documentary about the human being and his work to find an answer to this query.'

Daniela Ambrosoli, daughter of the German dancer Sonja Bragowa and the Italian trader Pierino Ambrosoli was born in Ascona, Switzerland. After attending high school in Ascona and Locarno she studies and works in the fields of psychology and medicine in Florence, Zürich and Geneva. With the birth of her first two children and the premature death of her father her life changes dramatically. She learns management and takes over many of the firms created by her father, such as Camping Delta and Ambrosoli Real Estate in Locarno.

In 1990 she founds the Pierino Ambrosoli Foundation to help the education of art students worldwide, with a special regard to dance and music. In the following years Daniela Ambrosoli takes part in numerous executive boards of International associations working with dance, music and humanitarian issues. She starts Travel & Culture Management in Zürich in 1999. Through her daughter Shari Yantra Marcacci, screenwriter and director, and her son Aliocha Merker, photographer and cameraman, she has been closely related to the movie industry for years.

She has worked on documentaries for several productions, between others: 'La Depressione, un male oscuro' (2004), 'Sul corpo e nel cuore' (2007), 'In un corpo sbagliato' and 'Madri figlicide' (2010), 'L'ultimo viaggio' (2013), 'I sopravvissuti' (2014) and 'Il sogno di Hans' (2015) all directed by Renato Pugina and produced by the Swiss National Italian Spoken Television, as assistant director and production manager. As co-director she realised with Renato Pugina 'Per Amor di Dio' (2011) for the Swiss Television, RSI. 'HN Hermann Nitsch' marks her debut as director.

Interview Roma 2009


Roma, November 2009

When and how did you come in contact with Nitsch’s work and why did you decide to make a documentary about it?

After casually meeting his wife Rita I became curious to know more about Nitsch as a person. I started my research on the net. Reading his biography and many other books, watching the videos of his performances and two documentaries made about him by the Austrian TV and listening to his music shocked me to the point that it was imperative for me to dig deeper into Nitsch’s personality by means of shooting a documentary. My experience in the TV business were a great help in the making of this project.

Did you ever take part in any of his performances?

Unluckily I never had the chance since I didn’t know the artist then.

What kind of man did you make out of his perfomances?

A strong man but fragile at the same time. An extraordinary and original artist who has carried out his vision since the age of 19 uncaring of the many obstacles he encountered. His untiring perseverance led him after 40 years to the realisation of his O.M.T. (Theatre of the Orgies and Mysteries). Nitsch is a generous man and he has always been very supportive of our project by opening the doors to his castle and to his soul for us.

How much time did it take you to realize this documentary? Please tell us about the various phases of the work and how you planned out the structure of the movie.

The documentary was made in 16 months, starting in summer 2008 up until the end of 2009. It was shot in Austria at castle Prinzendorf, in Vienna and Graz, in Naples, Verona and Asolo in Italy and in Cluj, Romania.
I wrote the story based first and foremost on Danielle Spera’s biography of Nitsch and on uncountable books on the artist. The movie aims to sincerely portrait Hermann Nitsch’s personality and it’s built around various interviews with the people that have been with him on his artistic and human journey. It started in June 2008 with my first visit to castle Prinzendorf, the artist’s residence. At that time I had the opportunity to meet Beppe Morra, president of the Morra Foundation with his assistant Teresa, Antonella Barina, journalist for the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, well-known art critic Achille Bonito-Oliva and Paola Marino, press agent of the Fondazione Morra.
The first stage of the shooting took place in Naples in August 2008 during the preparation of the Hermann Nitsch Museum. The second stage took place during the official opening of the Museum, in September 2008. The third stage took place in Cluj, Romania, where Nitsch was awarded the Honorary Degree by the University of Arts and Design. The fourth stage took place in October 2008 with a series of interviews with the artist in his castle at Prinzendorf and in his native neighbourhood of Jedlersdorf in Vienna, Austria. The fifth stage took place in May 2009 in Verona where we met with long time friend and collector of Nitsch’s Francesco Conz and in Asolo where we shot at the artist’s house in Monfumo. The sixth stage took place in May/June 2009 at castle Prinzendorf during the Pentecost Party and at the opening of the 56th Paint Action at the Museumszentrum Mistelbach. The seventh and last stage took place in June 2009 at Viennese Actionist Günther Brus’s house in Graz, Austria.

The editing of the documentary was done with great sensibility by Johannes Nakajima between the months of January and November 2009.

Interview Vienna, 2009


Vienna - July 2011:

How did your first encounter with Nitsch's work come about and what triggered it in you?

I didn't know Hermann Nitsch's work. My life experience brought me more into contact with the psychology of man, and culturally I have been supporting the training of professional dancers and musicians for over 20 years.

By chance, I met Rita Nitsch in a wellness hotel in Austria. The encounter with Hermann Nitsch and his work took place first through research on the Internet and then through the reading of many books that were published about him. A real shock to me!

What was the trigger for you to shoot a documentary about Nitsch?

My research revealed that there was still no documentary that had dealt with the man Nitsch. The goal of my film was to find out at the end which person is behind such cruel actions.

How could you win Hermann Nitsch for your cinematic project?

In July 2008, I traveled to the castle in Prinzendorf, together with my script. There I also met some close friends of Nitsch. The Neapolitan publisher and art collector Beppe Morra, as well as the famous Italian art critic Achille Bonito Oliva (ABO). Giuseppe Zevola, Neapolitan artist and assistant Nitsch was also present. Nitsch and his loved ones were enthusiastic about my film project and so it all started ...

You shot the film for a long time -

What did you particularly notice about the person of Nitsch during this period?

Nitsch is an extremely clever and dear person who had already designed his vision the "Orgien Mysterien Theater O.M.T." and the "6 Tage Spiel" at the age of 19. HN has worked tirelessly towards his goal for 40 years, defiance of persecution, defamation and even three stays in Austrian prisons. And he has also achieved this goal one hundred percent. His personality shows exactly the opposite of the brutality of his actions. He and his wife Rita love animals more than anything. Thus, they also live in Prinzendorf Castle with countless small animals and even two donkeys can be found there ..., which they personally look after with a lot of commitment and cordiality.

How do you feel about his art today - has the way you look at it?

Although, as I have already said, I am not an art historian, I was able to get closer to the art of HN through my film work and learn to understand and love it.

What difficulties did you face while shooting?

My project was to portray the person Hermann Nitsch in my documentary. Thus, interviews with his numerous friends worldwide were essential. These were not all easy to win over for this project. And last but not least, the search for critical voices did not give a single result!

Did Hermann Nitsch interfere in your decisions as a director or even say "no"?

Hermann and Rita Nitsch were enthusiastic about the film project right from the start. They have paved the way for me and my film team as much as possible. Their castle and heart were always open to us. Countless books, archive documents and DVDs were made available to us free of charge. I am extremely grateful to Hermann Nitsch for never saying NO to my work. Thus, we were able to show the documentary for the first time in November 2009 to a selected audience at a private screening 

organized by Hermann Nitsch himself.

Pierino Ambrosoli Foundation

The Pierino Ambrosoli Foundation sustains the professional training of young talents in art all over the world, in particular dance and music. Founded in Zürich in 1990 by Daniela Ambrosoli in memory of her father, the P.A.F. has so far donated some 188 scholarships to young artists of 36 different nationalities and enjoys great renown worldwide. Many past scholarship holders have been promoted soloists and celebrate today great international careers in prestigious compagnie such as: English National Ballet, Royal Ballet London, Stuttgarter Ballet, Hamburg Ballet John Neumeier, Nederlands Dans Theater, Ballet Staatsoper Wien, Ballet de l’Opéra Nationale de Paris, Ballet National de Marseille, Zürcher Ballet, Boston Ballet, National Ballet of Canada and Bayerisches Staatsballett München. The foundation bestowes help to young choreographers, their pieces and performances. It finances the training and the shows of young musical talents and many music projects such as the Soweto Project at Carnegie Hall in New York or the Concerti di San Martino in the south of Switzerland, as well as countless cultural events. The young musicians supported by the P.A.F. have graduated from such prestigious schools as the Julliard School in New York, the Yehudi Menuhin School UK, the University of Indiana as well as the best European conservatories. The foundation has salso participated financially in two major international congresses on the dancer’s health, in Lausanne in 1995, and in Den Haag in 1999. The P.A.F. organizes auditions for competitions with international juries, provides technical counseling and maintains periodical contact with the scholarship holders and their families. In 2008 the P.A.F. was awarded a prize in ackowledgment of its work of public interest in the field of culture by the Marc Rich Foundation.