"The only way to escape from social or cultural codification is to negate, change, or destroy it."
VALIE EXPORT came into being in 1967, when the artist adopted the name and graphic identity of a brand of cigarettes, using the mottos emblazoned on the package – “semper et ubique, immer und überall” (always and everywhere) and “Made in Austria” – to reinvent herself as a symbol, as well as an object for use of her own making. Taking on the name of a product to represent her identity, EXPORT rejected the patriarchal names bestowed by her father and husband, asserting her own feminine independence and individuality.
The artist was born in Linz in 1940. Growing up in postwar Austria, she came of age in a society that was conservative, Catholic, and male-dominated. Many artists of EXPORT’s generation struggled against their national history and society and used art to make social, cultural, and political statements. In the spirit of this reactionary movement, EXPORT created performance art and experimental films that were instrumental in generating a new radical feminist art form and language, in which the female body was used as a tool of protest rather than as an object for the male gaze.
VALIE EXPORT: Jerusalem Premiere is the first exhibition in Israel devoted to EXPORT's works. This exhibition brings works from the artist’s early career to the Israeli arena, concentrating on the late 1960s to mid-1970s, when the diversity of art forms and the formation of her artistic language took shape.
The works in the exhibition fall under a number of categories: documentation of the early groundbreaking street actions through still photographs, video, and EXPORT’S “concept papers”; staged photography in relation to urban surroundings; conceptual photography; and drawing series that reveal a radically different aspect of her oeuvre. In conjunction with the exhibition, a number of her feature and experimental films will be screened as part of the Jerusalem Film Festival.
All works in the exhibition are shown courtesy of the Charim Galerie, Vienna.