Maria Lassnig:

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Maria Lassnig: – Pictures of People Clear

  • Sat 10 Sep 2016
  • 4:00PM
Kantate, copyright Maria Lassnig Estate
Kantate, copyright Maria Lassnig Estate

Tate Modern

Sumner StreetBanksideLondon SE1 9TG


This one-day retrospective of the films of Maria Lassnig is presented during the closing weeks of the Austrian artist’s exhibition at Tate Liverpool. Known for her radical experiments in self-portraiture, Lassnig pioneered a new expression of subjective bodily experience through an approach she defined as ‘body awareness’. Her 16mm films are a direct extension of this approach, exploring themes of female representation, perception and the body’s relationship to machines. 

Lassnig’s films were produced between 1971 and 1976 during her time in New York. Her first works were created in the context of her studies at the School of Visual Arts (1970–2) where she was enrolled in an animation course. She later joined the artist collective Women/Artist/Filmmakers, Inc., an all-women film production workshop which included Carolee Schneemann, Martha Edelheit and Rosalind Schneider among its members. Lassnig’s animated film works were created on makeshift stands she built herself and employed various combinations of felt-tip pen drawings, cut-and-paste collage and sprayed stencil drawings. Several works also integrated live action footage, as seen in Iris 1971 and Baroque States 1970–4. Together, this body of work can be seen to retain the sharp feminist and subjective quality of her autobiographical paintings from this period while expanding on her explorations of optics, prosthetics and representation through the lens and through time. 


Selfportrait, United States / Austria 1971, 16mm, colour, sound, 5 min
Chairs, United States / Austria 1971, 16mm, colour, sound, 4 min
Iris, United States / Austria 1971, 16mm, colour, sound, 10 min
Shapes, United States / Austria 1971, 16mm, colour, sound, 10 min
Couples, United States / Austria 1972, 16mm, colour, sound, 10 min
Palmistry, United States / Austria 1973, 16mm, colour, sound, 10 min
Baroque States, United States / Austria 1970–4, 16mm, colour, sound, 16 min
Art Education, United States / Austria 1976, 16mm, colour, sound, 16 min 

Programme duration: 81 min 

All prints courtesy sixpackfilm
The programme is introduced by Michael Birchall, Curator of Public Practice, Tate Liverpool


Maria Lassnig (1919–2014, Austria) is an artist and filmmaker known for her work in self-portraiture. In the 1950s, Lassnig worked closely with Arnulf Rainer and the Viennese artist group Hundsgruppe (‘Dog Pack’), which had been heavily influenced by abstract expressionism. She relocated to Paris in the 1960s and New York later in the decade, and during this time moved away from abstraction to focus solely on the body. In 1980, she returned to Austria to become a professor at the Vienna University of Applied Arts and represented her country at the Venice Biennale together with Valie Export the same year. In 1982, Lassnig established the only Austrian teaching studio for animated film, and participated in documenta 7. In 2013, Lassnig was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale. 

This programme is supported by the Austrian Cultural Forum London.
Tate Film is supported by LUMA Foundation.