Since the 1950s, artist Maria Lassnig has incorporated painting techniques from various art-historical periods into her practice—realism, surrealism, and expressionism alike—in an effort to develop a distinct style of painting that blends figuration with abstraction. The majority of her work features the human figure (often partially or fully unclothed) engaged in various activities, from a game of soccer to sexual play. With these works, Lassnig is interested in depicting what she calls “Body-Awareness,” visual representation of the body based on how it feels internally, rather than how it is perceived externally. The result is a haunting and vibrant body of work that, through abstracted figures, depicts the stark truth of reality.
Lassnig has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Lenbachhaus in Munich, the Museum Moderner Kunst in Vienna, the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Lassnig represented Austria in the 1980 Venice Biennale, and she received the Max Beckmann award in 2004.