The most interesting thing for me now is to make sure that the planet is going in the right direction. I keep the words sky, water, earth, fire in my mind. Those are the elements, and that’s what my work has come to be about. That’s what I’m about… When I think about my painting and the political and the planet, it’s about the hope that it’s not too late and that people can still get together and in whatever small way make a difference that adds up. As far as physical strength and ability goes, I’m very weak, of course, because of my age, but I still can paint, I can still draw. And so that’s my contribution…
I enjoy life, and I feel I’ve been different people. I was a different person, for example, when I did these very sexy drawings and paintings of my body, looking at my body. [Laughs] It’s the truth. Sex was all I could think about…
When I used to go to my house in Taos, New Mexico, and go to watch tribal dances, they wouldn’t ask me if I was Indian; they would say, “What tribe are you?” I would say, “Venezuelan.’”And they’d say, “I’ve never heard of that one!”… Within myself, I felt that I was Indian. I felt that very much when I went to the dances, because the tribes had a complete attitude towards the earth, that it was alive. I remember asking why the dances in the winter were different from the summer dances. A lot of stomping went on in the summer. I asked a man about this once, and he said, “Because the earth is asleep, of course, in winter.” Instead of stomping, they drag the foot, so as not to wake the earth. It’s an attitude toward the planet as a living thing. — LuchitaHurtado*
MARIA LASSNIG—NEW YORK FILMS 1970–1980—restored by the Maria Lassnig Foundation and the AustrianFilm Museum—comprise live-action and documentary footage, and “enrich and complicate our understandings of Lassnig’s approach to figuration and self-portraiture, as well as other key themes that she investigated throughout her career, including the social roles assigned to women, the tension between public engagement and private seclusion, and questions of technological advancement, especially of imaging technologies and shifts in the way images circulate.” (New York Diary)
These films were largely never finished, nor shown in the artist’s lifetime, which perhaps accounts for their frankness, a type of elucidate meditation on the artistic process, life in the studio, and the psychologies, lives, and bodies of Lassnig’s friends and colleagues. As such, the films of this period become essential to understanding the shift within Lassnig’s practice, which occurred around 1970 following the artist’s move to New York from Vienna in 1968, to be “in the country of strong women.”* Shifting her focus from the personal to that of the body and its relations, her reaction to the sensory overload of Manhattan was not so much an abandonment of an earlier practice of “body sensation” drawings and the subsequent “body awareness” paintings, but rather a redefinition of a transposed body within a cultural and civic environment.** — Mary L. Coyne
Birnbaum and Koo will also be in Berlin a week later.
“In 1985, the philosopher Jean-François Lyotard curated Les Immatériaux at Centre GeorgesPompidou in Paris. Though widely misunderstood at the time, the exhibition marked a ‘curatorial turn’ in critical theory. Through its experimental layout and hybrid presentation of objects, technologies, and ideas, this pioneering exploration of virtuality reflected on the exhibition as a medium of communication, and anticipated a deeper engagement with immersive and digital space in both art and theory. SPACING PHILOSOPHY analyzes the significance and logic of Lyotard’s exhibition while contextualizing it in the history of exhibition practices, the philosophical tradition, and Lyotard’s own work on aesthetics and phenomenology. Les Immatériaux can thus be seen as a culmination and materialization of a life’s work as well as a primer for the many thought-exhibitions produced in the following decades.”*