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Now widely known for her ‘body awareness’ paintings, Maria Lassnig didn’t get much credit for her art until later in life. Thankfully though, she’s now remembered as one of the most important artists of the 20th century, and the exhibition Maria Lassnig – Ways of Being, on view at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam until August 11, just proves that.

“Maria Lassnig was an incredibly inventive and imaginative artist who was often ahead of her time, and whose work retained its topicality, largely because she continued to address all the themes that she explores in her work, from her own physical experience”, says Beatrice von Borman, the museum’s curator. “With that they are bound to her person, but not to a specific time. Also extraordinary is the irony with which she approached even the most challenging themes, making them bearable”, she continues.

It's true that it was her own personal experience and her body that made them famous all over the world, sharing her unique, somewhat distorted perspective of herself. When talking about her ‘body awareness’ paintings, she stated: “I searched for a reality that was more fully in my possession than the exterior world, and I found it waiting for me in the body house in which I dwell, the realest and clearest reality”.

However, other themes like the role of women in society, death, family, political conflicts or even the communication between humans and animals also crowded her canvases. And not only canvases. Lesser known artworks of hers include animated films, for example. In 1974, she founded Women/Artist/Filmmakers, Inc., a feminist avant-garde group composed of other artists like Silvianna Goldsmith, Martha Edelheit and Carolee Schneemann. And before that, she joined the Hundsgruppe with some of her male counterparts, like Ernst Fuchs or Arnulf Rainer.

Now, in collaboration with the Albertina Museum in Vienna – where Lassnig spent most of her life and where the exhibition will travel to from September 6 to December 1 –, the exhibition Maria Lassnig – Ways of Being gathers more than two hundred pieces by the Austrian artist ranging from her better known paintings like Woman Power and Du oder Ich to never-before-seen artworks. If you’re in Amsterdam, you should pay a long visit.
The exhibition Maria Lassnig – Ways of Being will be on view until August 11 at the Stedelijk Museum, Museumplein 10, Amsterdam.

Arnau Salvadó

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