020309: MUMOK Museum moderner Kunst: Maria Lassnig – The Ninth Decade

MUMOK Museum moderner Kunst: Maria Lassnig – The Ninth Decade Lassnig forever Maria Lassnig, who will turn 90 this year, is one of the few Austrian artists whose works are highly praised by curators, art historians, and critics. At some point Valie Export was in the same league, even if her earlier works were more disputed; the same was the case with Brus, Weibel, or Rühm. After some intense discussions with Lassnig, Curator Wolfang Drechsler came up with a straightforward course through her work: at the entrance one will find her threefold-self portrait, showing the metamorphosis of an armless, fleshy creature, to a grotesque pseudo-being, developing into an to an anaemic, but obviously contemplative figure. A little further on are her works on sexual violence: the obese guy, leaning over a doll-like figure, and the other, holding the drawing of a woman paralysed by fear in front of his male privates. It is rather daunting, how fear, pain and horror unite with subtle humour. Examples are her works “Nasenflucht in die Wasenschlucht”, the “Hochzeitsbild”, “Fotographie gegen die Malerei”, and the horribly maimed self-portrait “Eiserne Jungfrau und fleischige Jungfrau”. Among the most terrifying works is her self-potrait, in which she holds a gun to her forehead and one towards the onlooker. Rarely is panic and aggression so drastically expressed. Just recently Lassnig tried out something new with her so-called “Cellar Paintings”. These works strike one as oddly modish, no wonder that Lassnig describes them as “unimportant”. But they prove that the artist, who does not want to be reminded of her age, but refers to it so often, is – even in her ninth decade – no where near stagnation. Nina Schedlmayer MUMOK Museum moderner Kunst 1070 Vienna, Museumsquartier, until 17.05.09 www.mumok.at

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