Exhibition of Valie Export
March 4 – March 28, 2007
A retrospective exhibition of Valie Export took place during March 4 – March 28, 2007 in the exhibition complex of the Ekaterina Cultural Foundation and in the State Center of Contemporary Art in the context of the program "Special Guests" of the Second Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art. The exhibition is the first attempt to familiarize Russian audience with the ambiguous art of the famous Austrian artist and feminist who has been a significant and symbolic person in the world of western art for the last thirty years. (VALIE EXPORT is the nick-name of the artist Waltraud Lehner since 1967).
From the middle of 1960s Valie Export has been working with various art techniques (performance, photography, cinema) and has been experimenting with replacement of cinema materials (screen, projector) by other analogous techniques and means. At times in her performances and projects she uses provocative opposition - actor/audience.
Valie Export is one of the founders of the so-called "gender art". Works of the end of 1960s are photo and video documents of performances in which she involved her body. Her art of those years and its demonstration forms are apprehended as a daring, even hysterical challenge to social standards and morals, however, one can understand a lot if one takes into consideration strict limitations imposed on women in 1960 - 1970s by the post-war Austrian society, state and Catholicism.
During 1970 - 1980s Valie Export has been writing articles on feminist art, has been teaching performance, cinema and video in various American and European universities. In 1985 a Valie Export film "Love Practice" is nominated to "Gold Bear" in the Berlin Film Festival. In 2000 she is awarded with Oskar Kokoschka premium, the main Austrian award in the sphere of fine art, but political character reasons make Valie Export refuse this premium.
In her later art Valie Export touches upon not only "gender" but other social and political problems as well. Among her new topics are war and disarmament, critical evaluation of the role played by mass-media and available information resources (including the Internet) and lots of other themes. Nevertheless, world recognition of Valie Export's name is due to documentarily fixed provoking experience of 1960s.
Simultaneously at two exhibitions in Moscow there existed two completely different creative images of Valie Export. In State Center of Contemporary Art she was presented first of all as a daring innovator of "gender art", focus was made on work with body of 1960 - 1970s. At the exhibition in the Ekaterina Cultural Foundation visitors had an opportunity to see the undoubtedly gifted artist Valie Export from another point of view. The exposition presented in the Foundation gave an image of Valie Export as a talented graphic artist, photographer, camera-operator and artist experimenting with various styles and techniques.
One of the main achievements of feminist artists, according to Valie Export, is that they managed to gain the right to freedom of expression in art equal to that of men.