Magazine article Artforum International

Valie Export: LUNSTHAUS BREGENZ

Magazine article Artforum International

Valie Export: LUNSTHAUS BREGENZ

Article excerpt

VALIE EXPORT'S trailblazing work has long been considered central to contemporary art history. It is characterized by her militant stance, her penetrating analysis of society, politics, and culture, and her fundamental belief in the alterability of prevailing power relationships. Provocation, the eternally young artist insists, moves things forward. The results of her practice of resistance are incunabula of feminist art--works such as Tapp und Tastkino (Tap and Touch Cinema), 1968, Am der Mappe der Himdigkeit (From the Portfolio of Doggedness), 1968, and Body Sign Action, 1970.

For her exhibition in Bregenz, EXPORT distanced herself from the traditionally curated retrospective. Instead, with "VALIE EXPORT/ Archive," she allowed a glimpse of her innermost self, by means of a unique sort of treasure trove sorted into hies, stored in boxes, stuffed into suitcases, and piled to the rafters in her studio: Aside from "occasional acts of obliteration," as the artist put it, EXPORT has thrown away nothing in fifty years. The organizers of the exhibition, Yilmaz D/.iewior and Rudolf Sagmeistcr, were therefore able to come up with real finds from the memory vault of this charismatic artist. There are early sketches, still lifes, serial pencil drawings of things like waves and dunes, mirror drawings, drafts and scripts, critical analyses of media, and conceptual photographs. In EXPORT'S universe, personal collections (postcards, plastic dinosaurs) mingle with historical newspaper clippings, film posters, and props such as the crotchless jeans she wore in her 1969 performance Genitalpanik (Genital Panic). All of this was displayed in fifty-seven glass cases (designed for the occasion by Wilfried Kuehn)--art and reference material crammed into an explosive recounting of the career of an artist who has never tired of questioning power and the ways in which it is exerted, who recognizes no boundaries between the physical body and other media. …

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