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"Two or Three or Something: Maria Lassnig, Liz Larner"
2006-02-04 until 2006-05-07
Kunsthaus Graz
Graz, , AT Austria

The exhibition Two or Three or Something. Maria Lassnig, Liz Larner investigates painterly and sculptural vocabularies as elaborated in the work of two distinguished women artists, Austrian, Maria Lassnig (born on 1919) and Californian, Liz Larner (born on 1960). The entire oeuvre of these two artists is a profound analysis of human psyche, executed with a particular sensibility towards the formal language.

In her monumental sculptures and installations, Liz Larner depicts “the world not just as a given... (but) as a construction” whereas Maria Lassnig in her introspective paintings takes on an investigation into the truth of human emotions and bodily sensations. In both cases, materials, their texture and volume as well as colours, their significance and intensity seem to play a major role in constructing a physical and mental space and the entire architectonics of sensuality. What links the work of Lassnig and Larner is a very sincere attempt at overcoming a self-portraiture as still most dominant modernist habitat of artistic mythology and designing trajectories of subjectivity through a psychophysical network of relations and connections. Here corporeality constitutes a universe where the cultural, political and formal frames are being constantly questioned and redefined.

Two or Three or Something. Maria Lassnig, Liz Larner includes a selection of sculptures and installations by Liz Larner, from her impressive installatory work, Chain Perspective (1990-92) which will be spectacularly reconstructed within a biomorphic geometry of the Kunsthaus Graz, through her formal experiments of the 1990s, such as 2 as 3 and Some Too, down to the very recent work executed in porcelain, Smiles (2005). This set will be combined with a choice of very recent, never shown before, paintings by Maria Lassnig, a unique summery of the artist’s approach on the edge of the figurative and the abstract, the real and the grotesque, an evidence of her long-time concern, “the physical event of bodily experience”.

The exhibition Two or Three or Something. Maria Lassnig, Liz Larner appropriates a title of one of the works by Liz Larner, a sculpture which playfully rebels against modernist tradition and dogmas that were based upon formal stability, purity and rigidity. Such a choice expresses a major focus of this exhibition which is medium itself and its particular specificity in an oscillation between two-dimensional, three-dimensional and beyond-dimensional forms. It does question the rigidity of definitions and it points out to the new interpretations of the sculptural and painterly works. It emphasizes nuances of an applied technique which sets up a form in a constant flux and dynamics. This is a territory of tensions where depth competes with the surface, a density is complemented by a sense of void, and the inside is constantly challenged by a dominant exteriority.

It is an expression of a liberation of form on the way towards hybrid, multiply constructions. Uncanny in its playfulness and ironic in its quasi-nonchalant gesture of openness, it brings an anxiety which productively shakes an established order and convention. Two or Three or Something with its inert “alternativeness” suggests a masquerade, an almost carnivalesque play with elemental forms, shapes and personages. It brings forward a set of elements: composition, framing, elaboration of line and colour but first of all it holds a definition of volume and density at the core of the works of these artists. As such Two or Three or Something is about how space is being produced and constructed in the net f physical and mental geometries expressed in the oeuvres of Lassnig and Larner.

Maria Lassnig
Zweifel, 2004/2005,
Courtesy Maria Lassnig,
Foto: Franz Schachinger

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