Born in Ardning, Austria, Brus was part of the Viennese Actionist Group (Wiener Aktionsgruppe), which was formed in 1964. Their art developed from - but was also a critique of - the Action Painting of Jackson Pollock and other American artists. Brus and the Viennese Action Artists wanted to present the actions inherent in Action Painting as directly as possible, and not as traces of paint on canvas. Brus went on to make deliberately provocative performances, pushing his body to extremes. Through his focus on the body during his performances, Brus is regarded as one of the founders of Body art.