Valie Export has had a highly influential career, producing innovative work in a range of mediums—including film, video, installation, performance, photography, sculpture, and computer animation—for over forty years. After graduating from Vienna’s Technical School for Textile Industry in 1964, she was determined to create a new identity, and changed her name as an aesthetic, social, and political act. Her early performance-based projects were feminist in nature and were intended to provoke social change and overturn prevailing attitudes toward women. She used her body as a medium, challenging erotic hypocrisy as she perceived and codified information and countered the horrifying political realities of the recent past. Later she developed the more personal conceptual vocabulary that has characterized her work ever since. This retrospective includes footage of Export’s early Touch Cinema, which was performed on the streets of ten European cities from 1968 to 1971. For these performances, Export built a tiny “movie theater” around her naked chest—which was not visible but could be touched by anyone who reached through the curtained front—and invited people to “visit the cinema.” All works are directed by Valie Export and from the Museum’s collection.
Organized by Barbara London, Associate Curator, Department of Media.