At age twenty-eight, Waltraud Hollinger changed her name to VALIE EXPORT, in all uppercase letters, to announce her presence in the Viennese art scene. Eager to counter the male-dominated group of artists known as the Vienna Actionists including Günter Brus, Otto Mühl, Hermann Nitsch, and Rudolf Schwarzkoglershe sought a new identity that was not bound by her father's name (Lehner) or her former husband's name (Hollinger). Export was the name of a popular cigarette brand. This act of provocation would characterize her future performances, especially TAPP und TASTKINO (TOUCH and TAP Cinema) and Aktionhose: Genitalpanik (Action Pants: Genital Panic). Challenging the public to engage with a real woman instead of with images on a screen, in these works she illustrated her notion of "expanded cinema," in which film is produced without celluloid; instead the artist's body activates the live context of watching. Born of the 1968 revolt against modern consumer and technical society, her defiant feminist action was memorialized in a picture taken the following year by the photographer Peter Hassmann in Vienna. VALIE EXPORT had the image screenprinted in a large edition and fly-posted it in public spaces.
Gallery label from Transmissions: Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America, 1960–1980, September 5, 2015–January 3, 2016.