Valie Export

VALIE EXPORT »Aktionshose Genitalpanik«, 1969
© VG BILDKUNST 2021 / Courtesy VALIE EXPORT Center
* 1940 / Austrian media artist
“Art must be aggressive.”
Valie Export

VALIE EXPORT was one of the most radical champions of women’s rights during the women’s movement of the 1970s, and today she is considered an icon of feminist art. For decades, the Austrian artist has explored the theme of her own body, which became her most important artwork, even being utilized as a weapon.

Her body as a vehicle for scandal

VALIE EXPORT has always liked to provoke. She shocked conservative society with public performances such as her “Tapp- und Tastkino” (“Tap and Touch Cinema”) of 1968, in which she strapped a box resembling a television over her naked chest and invited people in the street to touch her breasts. In 1969 she followed this with “Aktionshose Genitalpanik” (“Action Pants: Genital Panic”), which once again outraged public morals. Through her daring performances, EXPORT created iconic images that have burned themselves into the collective visual memory: the artist writhing naked on shards of glass; leading her male companion through the city on a dog’s lead; scraping off her cuticles until they bleed… This is art that hurts.

“My body is the seam, my body is the interface.”
Valie Export
An icon in her own lifetime

The sheer diversity of EXPORT’s artistic approaches is astonishing. In her long career, she has realized performance and concept art, worked as a photographer and filmmaker, and experimented with lasers and computer art. Yet for many years she was ignored in her homeland. After years of neglect, in the 1990s her works appeared on the international stage – at documenta, Venice Biennale, MoMA and the Tate Modern. Today, EXPORT is considered a leading pioneer of feminist action art and an icon of 20th century art history, who has influenced generations of female artists. There is even a research centre dedicated to her life’s work – VALIE EXPORT Center Linz, which contextualizes and researches her works for posterity. Thus VALIE EXPORT is already going down in art history and the history of women’s emancipation during her own lifetime.

VALIE EXPORT »Aus der Mappe der Hundigkeit«, 1968
© VG BILDKUNST 2021 / Courtesy VALIE EXPORT Center
“What makes feminist art so powerful is its radicalism. In the case of VALIE EXPORT, it was clear that powerful gestures would be needed, gestures that would precipitate a scandal.”
Sabine Folie, Director of VALIE EXPORT Center Linz

Die Vielfalt ihrer künstlerischen Ansätze ist bemerkenswert: Wie kaum eine andere probiert sie sich in verschiedenen Kunstsparten aus und sucht neue Ausdrucksmöglichkeiten. Die Medien-Künstlerin realisiert Performances, arbeitet als Filmemacherin und Fotografin und experimentiert mit Laser- und Computerkunst.

Bereits zu Lebzeiten eine Ikone