The retrospective of Valie Export (1940, Linz) filled the entire fourth floor, displaying nearly 100 photographs, drawings, videos, and installations. In 1967 the artist appropriated the name of a low-cost cigarette brand—Smart Export—as a pseudonym and business name. She immediately began to upset the status quo and launch her career with rebellious determination. Being a woman was the subject of her art. Her body became the medium for directly confronting reality; unblinkingly challenging male authoritarian control; and questioning her female, feminist, bodily, and sexual identity (in the Identitätstransfer [Identity Transfer] photo series). Her body was also used as an instrument for understanding space: placed in a natural or urban setting, a living sculpture seen in front of or lying against built environments, it was positioned, spread out, and then closed in on itself (Body Configurations series). Export’s clear stance as a critic, of both society and politics, aimed to break society’s rules, tear down sociological models, and flout social mores in order to create new behaviors.
- Exhibition organized in collaboration with Centre national de la Photographie, Paris
- With the support of the Forum culturel autrichien, Bern