THE AWARDS AND THE MOTIVATIONS
Maria Lassnig and Marisa Merz are the recipients of the Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement of the 55th International Art Exhibition – Il Palazzo Enciclopedico (The Encyclopedic Palace).
The decision has been made by the Board of la Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta, following the proposal of the curator of the 55th International Exhibition, Massimiliano Gioni, who presented the following motivations:
“For more than sixty years Maria Lassnig has investigated representation, both of the body and of the individual, in paintings that often depict the artist in a state of restlessness, excitement, or despair. Through her self-portraits, Lassnig has composed a personal encyclopedia of self-representation and, through what she calls ‘body-awareness paintings,’ has used painting as an instrument of self-analysis. Lassnig, at ninety-three years old, represents a unique example of obstinacy and independence that deserves to be celebrated with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement.”
“Since the 1960s, Marisa Merz has been a singular voice in contemporary art. Beginning with her early work, which she carried out alongside the protagonists of Arte Povera, Marisa Merz has distinguished herself by her reflection on the domestic realm and handicraft techniques stereotypically associated with female labor. The artist has developed a personal language in which painting, sculpture, and drawing give shape to apparently archaic and primordial images. These contemporary icons and stylized faces rise to the surface as divine apparitions. Her epiphanic paintings, as if cultivated through years in solitude, invite us to look at the world with closed eyes – as the artist suggested with the title of her 1975 exhibition, With Closed Eyes, The Eyes Are Extraordinarily Open.”
The awards will be officially presented to the two artists on June 1, 2013, at 11 a.m., during the opening and award ceremony of the exhibition.