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Vienna Art Insight
by Karin Sawetz, publisher Fashionoffice
(7 May 2014)


Maria Lassnig's impact on the Viennese creative scene in the 1980ies

Yesterday, Austrian artist Maria Lassnig died in the age of 94. Her paintings with focus on 'body awareness' from a feminist view are known internationally and currently exhibited at MOMA PS1 in New York (until 25 May). Since yesterday, media in Austria publish shorter and longer articles (the length depends on the interests of the target group of the mediums) about the death of the artist who stood as woman in the art business for long time in the second row and had to wait many years, decades to be honored for her work. Last year, she was awarded with the 'Golden Lion' for her life's work in Venice; but she was physically too weak to visit the city at the Mediterranean Sea for receiving her prize personally.

Today in the morning I remembered Maria Lassnig's impact during the 1980ies on the Viennese creative scene in another field than painting which spreads still in offshoots (Tricky Women Festival). But this special part of Lassnig's work is not mentioned in the articles I read in the last hours. In 1982, after she returned from New York where she didn't only work but also studied animated film at the School of Visual Arts, Lassnig founded the first class for animated film at the University of Applied Arts; this isn't mentioned on Wikipedia in English, while the German version contains this information.

I can remember that it was in the 80ies (photo on this page) when I began to experiment with screen prints on textiles; or better: prints on cut textiles which were sewn afterwards together as clothing pieces. The possibilities of screen printing and the movement of the body brought me to animated film; my interest was supported by the creative atmosphere in Vienna which was infected by the Maria Lassnig virus of making animated films. What she did there in her class was seen as 'hip' and 'cool' in Vienna. During the 1980ies I studied (not art) and designed fashion to co-finance my studies. One of my designs at that time was for a wide skirt where a short endless movie was printed on the around 15 cm hem. The print showed a woman who began to dance when the wearer started to rotate.

I can advice the article by Andrea Schurian on Der Standard which ends with the citation of a diary entry by Maria Lassnig: "All well and good - but still very crappy." (The article is written in German; the citation was translated via https://translate.google.com.)


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