text: Pablo Peñalba
Is that the way you see yourself? Is that your face? Is that the color of your expression? Do feelings have a color of their own? Do not paint it all so greenish. Do me the favor, and try with a little more of yellow. Du oder ich (You or me), yes, you are right. You are the one painting now, it`s you, those works are yours. I understand if you want to kill me every time I talk like this about your paintings, when I pry into someone else’s businesses. I´m sorry, I correct myself, it is my business, but I can´t and I don´t want to change it. You point a gun at me only for making a chromatic comment on your works, but the second gun, you point it at yourself, at your own head. You are not thinking of doing it, are you? Keep painting, come on, even in green tones, I don´t care. Don´t stop doing it. Don’t give up painting yourself the way you do, of exploring yourself as a woman throughout the years, as a subject, of becoming an inquiring object which hangs from the walls, watching us visitors witnessing your changes and transformations, ever since your triple self portrait from 1972, until Dame mit him, in 1990.
I’m not worried about your greenness anymore. Or maybe I got used to it and I must admit that I like that tone you use, a blending of emerald green and white that repeats itself in each one of your works. Now, however, I concentrate on your figures, your thick strokes, how you deconstruct the figures to create your own characters, such as Sprachgitter or Auge in gefahr, getting willingly away from realism, maybe without live models, only evoking your visual memory and relying on the freedom born out of your experience. I´ve seen your own figure going through a dozen transformations; as a polar bear, a cow, a faun; even a monstrou head which look like a self flagellation, or as a science fiction character, and in nervous drown lines, in colors and harmonies of different types and combinations that time allowed you to experience. And then, I understand your passion for disfiguration, the destruction and reconstruction of yourself, yes, yourself, from the corners of your mind.
I admire your productions, your canvas. And I also admire your patience for the hours you surely spent trying to explain them, trying to answer to so many unnecessary “whys?” from your public, when in art nothing needs to be explained, but lived. Now that your art and life have ended, I can understand now, after going around the room´s exhibition, the first painting, Du oder ich. I understand the two guns: the one you point at yourself and the one you point at the audience, at me. And I know now, that both are about to fire.
Visit Maria Lassnig exhibition at Fundació Antoni Tàpies until May 31th