LONDON.- The art of Maria Lassnig, one of the most important painters of the modern era, is characterized by its ruthless probing into themes of the body and its significance. The online presentation, “Maria Lassnig. Me, encircled by a Fly”, is a unique collection of the artist’s works on paper and canvases between 1987 and 2005. It searches this concernment with the physical presence of the body – a thought the artist invented as “body awareness”. “I explored for a truth that was more completely in my property than the outside environment,” Lassnig said. “I noticed it waiting for me in the body house in which I live, original and clearest reality.” Getting its name from an eponymous self-portrait drawn in the 1990s studies variable versions of the material life that Lassnig painted throughout her art.
The exhibition is performed in close collaboration with Peter Pakesch, Director of the Maria Lassnig Foundation, who describes: “From the starting of her profession, Maria Lassnig searched physical feelings and the opportunities of thought of her own body as paradigms for creative interpretation. She understood everything through this relationship between the body as the original means: the means of perception, as well as the means of action. It is a body that hurts, works, expresses, presents, structures, and crushes itself, and recognizes… The body melts, transforming into mythology or machines, and reassembles itself in consistently new ways.”
Despite being identified for her large-format oil on canvas art, the watercolor was a continuum in Lassnig’s work. Pencils, chalk, and watercolors were the artist’s regular friends that left her to immediately fight with emotional disturbances and the limitless opportunities of the body, whether in singular or various iterations. Lassnig introduces herself as an abstracted body enclosed by a buzzing beetle in “Ich von einer Fliege umkreist (Me, Encircled by a Fly)” (ca.1990-1999). Here the personal form takes on the power of Lassnig’s mind in an ironic and humorful twist. The directness of watercolor, pencil, and paper performed it pleasant for Lassnig to project her mind more directly. “I have definitely no responsibility to show myself in words if I can do it with a pencil”, she once said.
The art of Maria Lassnig is based on a study of the physical presence of the body and what she meant by “painting body awareness.” She tried very hard to write her physiological elements in a direct and constant way, realizing that “honesty is preserved in the emotions created in the physical shell.” Using contrasting colors such as green, pink and blue, as well as powerful body shapes to present her paintings as a powerful, even radical result, she considered herself the main artist in a predominantly male world.