Friday 31 March 2017

Maria Lassnig - a painting survey

'I stand, as it were, nude in front of the canvas, without intention, without plans, without a model, without photography, and let things take shape. But I have a starting point which arose from the realisation that the only truly real things are my own sensations, which transpire within the house of my body; they're physiological, the sensations of pressure when sitting and reclining, of tension and spatial extension - such things are rather difficult to depict'.

Maria Lassnig, A Painting Survey,  at Hauser and Wirth, London.

Spanning work made from the 1950s to the end of the artist's life, this exhibition traces Maria Lassnig's evolution from early experiments with abstraction to a richly inventive figuration and the refinement of her 'body awareness' paintings in which she captured physical sensation as felt from within.

Lassnig spent most of the second half of the 20th century being overlooked. Dealers and curators couldn't see how to fit her work, which consisted of self-portraits, into any of the usual groupings. She was at different times both figurative and linear, realist and allusive, full and spare. The only thing that stayed the same was her subject matter, which was always herself.

Developing what she called 'body awareness painting' she depicted pain, thought, blood and breath, as if they were objects she could hold and scrutinise. 'The truth', she once explained, 'resides in the emotions produced within the physical shell'. She did not work from photography or observation but from what she called 'body awareness', a Surrealist-influenced method of painting only her mental perception of herself and her feelings. 'I do remember when it occurred to me the first time, when I got the idea of painting the way I feel at a given moment. I was sitting in a chair and felt it pressing against me. I still have the drawings where I depicted the sensation of sitting. The hardest thing is to really concentrate on the feeling while drawing. Not drawing a rear end because you know what it looks like, but drawing the rear end feeling'.

Beams, 1950, (oil on canvas)

Field-division black-white-grey 2, 1953, (oil on cardboard)

Field-division black-grey 8, 1953,  (oil on cardboard)

Tachism 4, 1958, (oil on canvas)

Untitled, 1959, (oil on canvas)

Untitled, 1958-59, (oil on canvas)

Untitled, 1960, (oil on canvas)

Self-portrait as animal, 1963, (oil on canvas)

Two side by side, 1961, (oil on canvas)

Red-blue figuration, 1961, (oil on canvas)

Ring of thorns / woman in ring of thorns, 1963-64, (oil on canvas)

The earthly race, 1963, (oil on canvas)

Balancing myself, 1965, (oil on canvas)

Rabbit picture, 1962, (oil on canvas)

Self-portrait with wine glass, 1975, (oil on canvas)

Triple self-portrait/new self, 1972, (oil on canvas)

Young woman with wine glass, 1971, (oil on canvas)

The Native American in Berlin, 1979, (oil on canvas)

Language mesh, 1999, (oil on canvas)

Generation problems II, 1998-99, (oil on canvas)

Re-lations VI, 1994, (oil on canvas)

Lines of fate/re-lations VIII), 1994, (oil on canvas)

Scientists I and II, 1997, (oil on canvas)

Woman and Man, 2007, (oil on canvas)

Self-portrait with speech bubble, 2006, (oil on canvas)

Interruption, 1989, (oil on canvas)

Navel boat, 1991, (oil on canvas)

Large field-division/mirror, 1898, (oil on canvas)

TV child, 1987, (oil on canvas)

Gardener in the snow, 1986/87, (oil on canvas)

Wednesday 29 March 2017

The supreme rifts ... a measured propinquity

The Supreme Rifts ... a Measured Propinquity, at Marian Goodman Gallery, London.


Gerhard Richter, 930-6 Strip, 2013-2016, (digital print on paper mounted between Alu Dibond and Perspex)

As I wrote in a previous post that included this painting:

This is a painting based on the systematic deconstruction of a photograph of one of his own abstract oil canvases from 1990. He divided the work's surface into two vertical sections, then halved those halves, mirrored the image and repeated the process again and again: 'dividing, mirroring, repeating', as he described it. As the image got halved and squeezed again and again, ever smaller repetitive patterns were produced, reminiscent of Islamic decoration, until at a certain point these horizontal bands took over.

Were he to continue, he explained, the bands themselves would disappear into a kind of optical white noise, and eventual visual silence. At the point when this digital process had generated 4,096 vertical sections, Richter intervened with a rigorous selection process, choosing particular preferred strips with which to continue working. Following one further final halving and mirroring, he had each work printed to his desired scale, resulting in horizontal, rhythmic fields of fine lines of various colours.

looking closer

part of the process exhibited on the ledge next to the painting

Niele Toroni, Empreintes de Pinceau no. 50 a intervalles reguliers de 30 cm, 2016, (acrylic on canvas)

Ettore Spalletti, Mezzanotte, blu, tuttotondo, 2016, (colour impasto on board)

Ettore Spalletti, Paesaggio, 15, 2016, (colour impasto on board)

Niele Toroni, Andata E Ritorno, (orange), 1991, (installation of four canvases, easels - imprints of No. 50 brush repeated at regular distances 30cm)

in the corner, below the ceiling, Niele Toroni, Omaggio Alle Rondini, Acrilico Blu, 1996, (blue acrylic on paper)

Gerhard Richter, Mirror, Grey, 1991, (pigment on glass)

A continuation of Richter's nearly 50-year engagement with grey monochrome, an enduring fascination: 'Grey is the epitome of non-statement'. In this case, no mark-making, instead, reflection. Reflection of the architectural space and in this case, me taking the photograph.

Richter says that forty years ago, he built a narrow corridor and on one wall he hung a grey painting and opposite, a mirror. 'They looked at each other, and you couldn't go in'. He created an illusion of a painting that didn't need a spectator.

Gabriel Orozco, Blackboard Drawing, Nos. 4 and 9, 1998, (silkscreen on blackboard, aluminium, eraser and chalk

on the first floor, on three walls of the first room:

Sol Lewitt, Wall Drawing: Tilted forms with ink washes superimposed, 1988

Gerhard Richter, 6 Panes of Glass in a Rack, 2002-2011 (glass and steel construction)

Gabriel Orozco, Secuncia Modular, 2016 (aluminium)