Maria Lassnig – The Ninth Decade / Exhibition at MUMOK Vienna

MUMOK – Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien (Vienna)

Maria Lassnig
The Ninth Decade
until May 17, 2009

Maria Lassnig is among the most important artists living today. An individual exhibition at the MUMOK celebrating her 90th birthday will concentrate on works made during the past 10 years. All of the more than 60 paintings testify to the sensitivity and diversity of her late work full of life and radiant colors. Recent large-format paintings will be shown for the first time within her show at the MUMOK.

Maria Lassnig


Maria Lassnig
Du oder ich (You or Me), 2005
Öl auf Leinwand / Oil on canvas
202 x 155 cm
Friedrich Christian Flick Collection
© Maria Lassnig

Over the course of her long career, Lassnig has been an important example for many artists, influencing an entire generation of painters. One of the most important aspects of her work throughout her sixty-year career has been to explore the way the body’s sensations are reflected in the medium of painting: “One thing is certain. I don’t paint or draw the body as an ‘object’ but rather the sensations of the body.” (Maria Lassnig, 1999) And she never shied away from expressing her feelings. Whether her strengths or weaknesses – whatever she discovered on her inner journeys was integrated into her paintings. .

Maria Lassnig, who often likes to cultivate the aura of a loner and who has said about herself, “Sometimes I wish that I were a little less nice”, has continued to develop her work over the course of many decades. She has consistently made relevant work in dramatically different societal and historical contexts. This has often been one of the reasons why her work has always been difficult to classify. Any specific stylistic trend in her work has only been valid as long as it did not get in the way of new experiences. .

Her most recent paintings are especially convincing in their independence, striking colors, passionate and often elusive chromatic combinations. Here memory has played an important role as Lassnig stressed in an interview in Artforum: “Memory has become more important to me over the past few years. The outside world impinges on us so much today that it has become almost impossible to depict anything else.” .

Maria Lassnig


Maria Lassnig
Adam und Eva mit Apfel (Adam and Eve with Apple), 2003
Öl auf Leindwand / Oil on canvas
200 x 150cm
Privatsammlung, London
© Maria Lassnig


Maria Lassnig
Zauber (Spell), 2006
Öl auf Leinwand / Oil on canvas
125 x 100 cm
Courtesy of the artist
© Maria Lassnig

Maria Lassnig


Maria Lassnig
Foto: Sepp Dreissinger, 2008
© Sepp Dreissinger

The exhibition concentrates on the “ninth decade” of Maria Lassnig’s work, showing how it has developed with respect to earlier works, without at the same time becoming redundant. Not without a certain share of irony, she has interpreted themes that she had already worked through before. Once again, there are mystical elements in her work, like for example in the so-called “Kellerbilder” that were made in her basement in Carinthia during a particularly hot summer. She asked some of her younger neighbors to pose for her, giving them some plastic wrap to hold in front of their faces. Here she was making a reference to memories she had of fruit packed in cellophane wrap, which she long ago saw for the first time in a supermarket in New York. During the early 1970s, she had painted a still life with apples and likewise a self-portrait with cellophane wrap. In addition, there are numerous self-portraits with animals along with a series of pictures of memories that go all the way back to her time at the art academy. With nude models she staged a short “Adam and Eve” series. Her recent works have tended towards a new freedom of method, combining her characteristic broad strokes with more naturalistic painting techniques.

Exhibition view


Maria Lassnig – Das neunte Jahrzehnt
Ausstellungsansicht / Exhibition view
Selbst mit Katze (Self with Cat), 2000; Die Sanduhr (Hourglass), 2001; Die Lebensqualität
(The Quality of Life), 2001 (v. l. / from left)
Foto / Photo: MUMOK, Lena Deinhardstein

  • “The Ninth Decade” represents the third large-scale “solo show” by Maria Lassnig with the previous exhibitions in 1985 and 1999 having been conceived more as classical retrospectives.

Text courtesy MUMOK
Images Copyright © Maria Lassnig – © MUMOK – © Sepp Dreissinger


Stampfli & Turci – Art Dealers

Disclaimer & Copyright


~ by Stampfli & Turci on April 23, 2009.

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