Charlie Schultz reviews the exhibition Maria Lassnig at MoMA PS1, New York on view through May 25, 2014.
Schultz writes: "Lassnig uses the phrase 'body awareness' to describe her process and approach. It’s a phrase that prompts a lot of curiosity as one takes in pictures of Lassnig muzzled, portrayed as a monster, straight-jacketed, depicted with her brain falling out of her head, or tries to make sense of her 'endoscopic abstractions.' What drives our bodily awareness? What aspects of our body are we most aware and how does that shape the way we conceive of ourselves? What about the inside of our bodies? What about the non-physical aspects, like the psyche? Curators Peter Eleey and Jocelyn Miller focused the exhibition on the artist’s self-portraits and in doing so brought these questions even more to the fore. While the eye becomes a recurring symbol in Lassnig’s imagery, it falls away as the dominant sense with which she builds her body awareness. Very few of her portraits look as if they were painted from a mirror or photograph. Instead, Lassnig does a lot of imagining."