Maria Lassnig was a significant avant-garde pioneer, whose work, during a career that spanned over 60 years, remains remarkably fresh and vibrant, consistently engaging with successive generations of contemporary artists.
Working from a feminist perspective, Lassnig produced powerful, bold and introspective paintings that investigated human emotions and bodily sensations.
The Serpentine exhibition included the first ever showing of a selection of Lassnig’s sensational oil paintings from the previous three years, alongside rarely exhibited films.
Lassnig used strong forms and colours to create portraits and semi-figurative abstractions, rejecting the static tendencies of traditional portraiture. She coined the phrase ‘body-awareness paintings’ to describe a visual language that she invented and used in her work to depict the invisible aspects of inner sensations. She repeatedly used her own body, in her view an inexhaustible subject, as a tacit source to explore human sensory experience.