Maria Lassnig died this month on the 6th of May 2014
I am touched and sad at her passing. She painted one of my favorite paintings ever. You know, the one where she sits naked holding a pistol to her own head and at the same time with the other hand holds a pistol pointing it straight to the outside world at you the viewer and anything else outside her self. As if to say , What is one to do? What are the choices? What is a woman to do? Shall I kill myself or shall I kill everything or everyone outside myself ?
Every time I see her work it is strongly expressive and universally honest, fresh and alive with deep frustrations made visible linking all woman all over the world.
Other works are bodily contortions about the frustration of having a body, or they express the limitations of being able to express the feelings of doubt and disappointment we intuit with the body. She tackled gender issues, was humorous and clearly was not afraid of embarrassment. She said about her work practice:
“I step in front of the canvas naked, as it were. I have no set purpose, plan, model or photography. I let things happen. But I do have a starting-point, which has come from my realization that the only true reality are my feelings, played out within the confines of my body. They are physiological sensations: a feeling of pressure when I sit or lie down, feelings of tension and senses of spatial extent. These things are quite hard to depict.” more here: http://www.hauserwirth.com/exhibitions/25/maria-lassnig/view/
She lived to 94 years old and in 2013 was awarded the Golden Lion lifetime achievement award at the Venice Biennale.
Apparently she said of Francis Bacon , “that he was ‘a good boy’ , he painted his backgrounds nicely”.
In her own paintings, she verges on the minimal , what is important to her is getting that feeling that thought onto the canvas as directly as possible and in that way her paintings, dare I say it are better than Bacon’s, they are less painterly less ‘worked’ but better for it.