Maria Lassnig
A Painting Survey, 1950 – 2007

September 17 - December 31, 2016

Los Angeles

Beginning 16 September 2016, Hauser Wirth & Schimmel is pleased to present ‘Maria Lassnig. A Painting Survey, 1950 – 2007,’ the first Los Angeles solo exhibition for the acclaimed late Austrian artist. Spanning work made from the 1950s to the end of the artist’s life, this survey traces Lassnig’s evolution from early experiments with abstraction to a richly inventive figuration and the refinement of her ‘body awareness’ paintings, in which she captured physical sensation as felt from within. Lassnig devoted much of her career to recording her physiological states through a direct and unflinching style, believing that ‘truth resides in the emotions produced within the physical shell.’ Pursuing her extraordinary science of the self, Lassnig rendered an oeuvre that has influenced such important younger artists as Martin Kippenberger and Paul McCarthy.

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About the artist

Born in Carinthia in Southern Austria in 1919, Maria Lassnig’s (1919 – 2014) work is based on the observation of the physical presence of the body and what she termed ‘body awareness’, or ‘Körpergefühl’ in German. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna in the midst of the Second World War. Then, in post-war Europe, she quickly moved away from the state-approved academic realism in which she was trained, looking to Austria’s own avant-garde past, such as the coloration of Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele’s expressionist treatment of figuration.Her early years were marked by experiences with various ‘isms’, including artistic currents in surrealism and automatism from the late 1940s, followed by ‘art informel’ and post-cubism in the 1950s. After moving to Paris in 1960, an innovative figuration, expressive and painterly, was beginning to emerge. In the next few years, she developed narrative paintings with one or more figures, at times borrowing from technoid forms of science fiction set in absurdly caricatured scenes. Animal-like, monstrous self-portraits emerged alongside this group of works.

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