Maria Lassnig: Animation films

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Maria Lassnig: Animation films DVDThe 33rd release in Index DVD's catalogue focuses on the film work of Maria Lassnig, best known for her work on the field of informal painting, which she founded with Arnulf Rainer and Oswald Oberhuber in Austria, and her 'body awarenesss' paintings. Maria Lassnig: Animation films covers practically the complete film production of the artist, including her later short biographic piece, 'Maria Lassnig Kantate', in collaboration with Hubert Sielecki.

Maria Lassnig (born in Kärnten, Austria in 1919) trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, but she soon left her native Austria to pursue her artistic career in Paris and New York. It is during her long residence in New York (1968-80) that she began to make films. Except for a brief course in Animation at the School of Visual Art New York, Lassnig made her films using her own self-taught abilities. Her animation work wasn't made in the classic animation desk, but in a work desk of her own design.

Despite being titled 'Maria Lassnig: Animation films', this compilation begins presenting her two first 'live-action' films: Baroque statues (1970-74) and Iris (1971). Both of them are interesting pieces, specially the later, a study of the naked female body , a 'real' body, far from the perfect demigod-like figures of advertising. Iris is an exploration of human flesh, in every detail and imperfection; an exploration that progresively moves from the object itself (the model) to its reflection in a mirror-like surface that distorts and twists the image as in a mirrorhouse.

Lassnig's animation films are often very simple in its realization. The animation is akward, even childlike, but here the films act just as a simple mediator between Lassnig's mind and the spectator. From her first animated film Chairs, her Selfportrait (said to be the first animated selfportrait) to Art education, Lassnig speaks out her ideas on genre (Chairs, Selfportrait), relationships (Couples, Palmistry) and the influence of male thought in art (Shapes, Art education). The ideas expressed here by Lassnig may seem outdated now or to have been covered in other works in more depth and more 'artistically', but Lassnig presents them in a direct, unpretentious, often funny way. Lassnig's film work may not be groundbreaking but it remains an interesting territory to enter into, and a perfect complement to her paintings that has been relatelively unknown to this day.



- Baroque statues (USA, 1970-74, 16mm, colour, 15 min)
- Iris (USA, 1971, 16mm, colour, 10 min)
- Chairs (USA, 1971, 16mm, colour, 2 min)
- Selfportrait (USA, 1971, 16mm, colour, 4:30 min)
- Shapes (USA, 1972, 16mm, colour, 9 min)
- Couples (USA, 1972, 16mm, colour, 9 min)
- Palmistry (USA, 1973, 16mm, colour, 10 min)
- Art Education (USA, 1976, 16mm, colour, 8 min)
- Maria Lassnig Kantate (Maria Lassnig & Hubert Sielecki, Austria, 35mm, colour, 1992, 8 min)

The 16-page booklet includes a biography, film notes and a new essay by Maya McKechneay.

DVD data:


Release date March 2009
Content 1 DVD5 + booklet
Index DVD
0 (region free)
Dolby Stereo
Language German
Subtitles English
Length 76 min.

Additional info:

- Article about Maria Lassnig at Wikipedia.

- Full screen captures at our gallery section.

Maria Lassnig - Iris (1971)
Maria Lassnig - Chairs (1971)
Maria Lassnig - Selfportrait (1971)
Maria Lassnig - Shapes (1972)
Maria Lassnig - Palmistry (1973)