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Maria Lassnig - Animation Films

Year: 2008, 75 mins
Code: IN-Mar

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Lassnig trained at the academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, and then spent several years in Paris in the 1950s and 60s, where she was exposed to Art Informel and Surrealism. From 1968 to 1980, she lived in New York, where she did pioneering work in film, producing a series of remarkably inventive animations all presented here for the first time on DVD.

Drawing on some of the same themes and subjects as her paintings, the narratives are profound and astute observations of the complexities of male-female relationships and of the experience of being both a woman and an artist. Her most celebrated film - Kantate - was produced later, in 1992, when Lassnig was 73. It presents her life story in a 14-verse song performed by the artist in a variety of costumes and accompanied by animations that are filled with humour and wit.

The work resisted any art-historical categorization, with Lassnig remaining independent from any particular art movement, and yet it has consistently engaged with successive generations of artists. While she is mainly celebrated in Austria and Germany, the significance of Lassnig´s work has been increasingly recognised through greater exposure in exhibitions worldwide.

(Serpentine Gallery catalogue - excerpt)

Animation Films

Baroque Statues (1970-74), 15 Min,
Iris (1971), 10 Min,
Chairs (1971), 2 Min,
Selfportrait (1971), 4:30 Min,
Shapes (1972), 9 Min,
Couples (1972), 9 Min,
Palmistry (1973), 10 Min,
Art Education (1976), 8 Min,
Maria Lassnig Kantate / The Ballad Of Maria Lassnig (1992), 8 Min

Maria Lassnig (born 1919) is an Austrian artist. Lassnig´s films portray only an excerpt of her artistic talent. Even so, her effect as an inspiring force for Austrian animated and avantgarde film should not be underestimated. She founded the Studio for Experimental Animation in 1982, while she was a professor at the University for Applied Arts Vienna (1980-1997). Except for a course in Animation at the School of Visual Art New York, Maria Lassnig used only her self-taught abilities. Her films came not from the animation stand, but from her self-designed worktable, most of which had developed after so-called "Body-Awareness-Drawings". As co-founder of informal painting with Arnulf Rainer and founder of body-painting, her films are immersed in the context of fine art. Commenting on the motivation to make films, she said "The world and the people in their comic-tragic confusion, prejudices, and superstitions gave me plenty of material, to point my finger at. Imperfection and pain can be overcome with humour.(...) To write articles, dialogues, and songs as a painter was a big adventure, but it also awakened my conscience and a feeling of responsibility, if not before the film, then in any case afterwards."

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