Maria Lassnig’s Body Sensation/ Body Awareness


Lassnig has created a series of self-portraits through which she negotiates the separation between sensation and awareness concerning consciousness. It seems she uses her existential knowledge to drive her artwork and renders around the idea that in the process of thinking about or depicting yourself, you become someone else. Through my research this makes sense in terms of the paradox of self-consciousness, which contemplates that when you think about thinking of yourself, there is a sense that it is someone else who is doing this thinking – as if the body schema that you have is how other people depict you or how you are and in what way you are represented externally.


Lassnig’s technique is clever: the process of her artwork is slow and meditative, allowing her to see past the conventions that seeing imposes, and therefore become aware of the interior body, consequently allowing the visual language of her own body schema to come out: turning feeling into articulation.

“(her paintings) are those that bluntly admit that any emotion is accompanied by an image, and this union of image and emotion creates a simplicity in which reality predominates nicely, since our external life dominates the emotional life, just as the ordinary person believes.” ( – Lassnig is going deeper into her own self to be able to illustrate her body schema and express the idea of body awareness. She works based on the idea that image-emotion does not leave the body verbally, although it reverberates throughout the body. Suggesting that external life (social constructions, cultural conventions) dominates emotional life and therefore shapes the self portrayed, differing it to its actuality from your body schema.

Lassnig’s artwork in depth has presented to me an actual relationship between mind and world, between consciousness and the dysfunctional society – which is the direction of my dissertation!


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