Maria Lassnig - The Ninth Decade

Today is the last day of the Maria Lassnig exhibit "The Ninth Decade" in Vienna's Mumok.

Throughout her life she has made it clear that the only thing she knows for sure are the feelings that evolve inside the shell of her body. She coined the term "body-awareness painting" in the 1940s.

"Once I wearied of depicting nature analytically, I began looking for a reality which would be more quintessentially mine than what the outside world, and found the body that I inhibit to be by far the most real of all realities; I had only to become aware of it to be able to project its impression in fixed centres of gravity onto the image plane".

She developed a "color perception" all her own which she called "vertical or absolute color perception"."I would fix my gaze at a point of color till the 'local color' disappeared and the entire frightening relativity of color gave way to a larger range of options". This enabled her to differentiate between "bodily sensation colors, thought colors, stretching and pressing colors, smell colors, flesh colors, death and decomposition colors" and so on.

I'm thrilled with the colors that emerge - bright green, deep violet, turquoise, and with the playfulness and irony in her pictures.

At almost ninety, Maria Lassnig is still alert, full of life, spirit and creative power.

Here's an interview and some of her pictures.


Lydia said...

O, Francessa, her art is too disconcerting for me. It's not my taste, but I sure do love that you featured her here and educated me about her....if only for me to think about what art is for me.

francessa said...

Ah, that's interesting that Lassnig has so diverse effects on people! I had to smile a lot while wandering through the exhibit and I observed several people doing the same. But there are lots of artists I find disconcerting, so I think I understand what you mean.

And it's so like you to find something good even in something you don't like ;-).

The purpose of art, the function of art - we might even start a discussion (probably never ending) :-)

Friko said...

one of the effects of art is to make you think. and talk about your thoughts. Lassnig is a modern artist who certainly does that. I find her fascinating.

francessa said...

Friko, I certainly agree with you. To make us think and to communicate these thoughts - these are the reasons of every intellectual activity.

Hattie said...

Lassnig speaks to me of my reality, that is for sure. I see her grappling with the question of identity in a way that produces great aesthetic objects. She's marvelous, from what I can judge in reproduction. I long to see her work "in person" some day.
I don't think admiring and being moved by her work is incompatible with enjoying sheerly beautiful work, by the way.
But to be present with oneself in the way she is is an amazing thing.

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