Maria Lassnig
A Painting Survey, 1950 – 2007

March 1 - April 29, 2017

London

Spanning work made from the 1950s to the end of the artist’s life, this survey traces Maria 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 important artists such as Martin Kippenberger and Paul McCarthy. The presentation is a re-imagining of the exhibition staged at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles in 2016. It has been organised by Peter Pakesch, Chairman of the Maria Lassnig Foundation, Vienna, and curator Paul Schimmel.

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Events

Exhibition Walkthrough with Co-Curator Peter Pakesch

Please join us for a walkthrough with Peter Pakesch, Chairman of the Maria Lassnig Foundation and co-curator of our current exhibition, ‘Maria Lassnig, A Painting Survey, 1950 – 2007.’ Peter Pakesch is Chairman of the Maria Lassnig Foundation, dedicated to propagating the extensive works of one of the most important artists in modern times. The Foundation’s central mission is to ensure that Lassnig’s legacy is secured over the long term and that her work is relayed to and increasingly understood by the public. Pakesch opened his eponymous gallery in Vienna in 1981, where he presented first exhibitions of such artists as John Baldessari, Herbert Brandl, IlyaKabakow, Mike Kelley, Martin Kippenberger, Sol LeWitt, Albert Oehlen, Franz West and Heimo Zobernig. In 1986 he founded the Graz Kunstverein together with the Graz-based cultural policy maker Helmut Strobl, running it as artistic director up to 1988. In 1996 he assumed the post of Director of the Kunsthalle Basel. There he showed first museum exhibitions by young artists such as Olafur Eliasson, Michel Majerus, and Pawel Althamer. From 2003 – 2015, Pakesch was Artistic Director of the Universalmuseum Joanneum in Graz, the oldest public museum in Austria. Pakesch has also been responsible for various groundbreaking exhibitions at the Kunsthaus Graz, which was opened in 2003 and which likewise belongs to the group of institutions gathered under the Universalmuseum Joanneum. Examples of exhibitions include ‘Warhol Wool Newman – Painting Real und Screening Real – Conner Lockhart Warhol’ (2009); ‘Franz West: Autotheater, Köln – Neapel – Graz,’ (2010), as well as Ai Weiwei (Kunsthaus Graz, 2011); Michelangelo Pistoletto (Neue Galerie Graz, 2012); Heimo Zobernig (Kunsthaus Graz, 2013); Ilya and Emilia Kabakov (Kunsthaus Graz, 2014), as well as the first solo exhibition of the American filmmaker James Benning (Kunsthaus Graz, 2014). In fall 2015 Peter Pakesch finished his work on the lead of the Universalmuseum Joanneum to devote his full time in building up the Maria Lassnig Foundation in Vienna, which was founded at the will of the artist in order to advance the understanding and the distribution of her work. This event is free, but reservation is required. Please click here to reserve a place.

Family Studio: Transform your Body and Make Wearable Art

Join us for a hands-on Family Studio exploring themes of our current exhibition, ‘Maria Lassnig. A Painting Survey, 1950 – 2007.’ Maria Lassnig devoted much of her career to the refinement of her ‘body awareness’ paintings, in which she captured physical sensation as felt from within. She believed 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. About the Studio: Families will have access to scrap fabric, craft wire, pipe cleaners, cellophane, colored masking tape, tape, and scissors to create geometric, technoid and science fiction appendages. Participants will be encouraged to look at abstract forms, use all of their senses, and examine the different ways in which materials can be used. The finished pieces are intended to evoke extensions or transformations of the body and will function as wearable art. Activities involve staplers and scissors and are thus designed for supervised children 5 – 11 years old. Younger children are also welcome with direct supervision by a guardian. This event is free, however advanced booking is essential as there are limited places. Click here to reserve a place.

Screening: Animated Films of Maria Lassnig

Complementing the current exhibition on view, ‘Maria Lassnig. A Painting Survey, 1950 – 2007,’ Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer will introduce a program presenting the artist’s complete film works, spanning from 1971 to 1992. Paralleling her celebrated and prolific painting practice, Maria Lassnig (1919 – 2014) produced a smaller group of animated and live action short films. Motion pictures enabled her to expand and narrativize the ‘body awareness’ project and rigorous subjectivity that defined her paintings for over half a century. About Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer Lehrer-Graiwer is a writer, curator, and educator in Los Angeles. She is a contributor to Artforum, as well as gallery and museum catalogues. She is the author of ‘Lee Lozano: Dropout Piece’ (Afterall Books, 2014) and ‘Can’t Reach Me There’ (Midway Contemporary Art, 2016). She runs The Finley Gallery and publishes ‘Pep Talk,’ the upcoming issue of which collects the writings of Rhonda Lieberman. Screening will last approximately 90 mins. This event is free but reservations are required. Click here to reserve a place.

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.

Current Exhibitions