Valie Export, Austrian (1940 - )

 aMedia artist, performance artist, filmmaker, lives and works in Vienna

1940 born in Linz as Waltraud Lehner

Valie Export was born and raised in Austria in 1940. Up to the age of 14, her schooling occurred in a convent. During that time, she had a very religious outlook on life and was very obsessed with God and religion. Her religious views changed rapidly though when she left the convent. In 1960 she went to art school in Vienna. There she studied design, painting, and drawing. After a short time in art school, she met her husband, got married, had two children, and then got divorced. After her divorce she returned to art school to further pursue art.

In the early 1960's Export was exposed to a group of Viennese Aktionists and poets that would influence her work and theories. Through these groups she got interested in Constructivism, which inspired her to work in new media. She started to experiment with photography and what she called "expanded cinema". She would experiment by pouring different colored waters and liquids into a mirror and project them onto a screen. To Export, these live projections were reality, as opposed to celluloid images mediated by the camera. She began to label much of her work Anti-Art or No-Art. Her art became a political tool to react against society or the "Establishment".

Her expanded cinema pieces started to include live performance form Export herself. The body then became her most important tool. Export used her body to question people's physical and mental identity. One of her important goals in performance was to separate the female body from eroticism. Export said "I felt it was important to use the female body to create art. I knew that if I did it naked, I would really change how the (mostly male) audience would look at me. There would be no pornographic or erotic/ sexual desire involved--so there would be a contradiction." (Juna & Vale, 1985).

Her views on the female body carried on to other works such as her performance at an art street fair in 1968. She performed "Touch Cinema" which involved strapping on a box which enclosed her naked breasts. The box had holes in the front so that spectators could stick their hands through. She told the spectators "This box is the cinema hall. My body is the screen. But this cinema is not for looking--it is for touching." (Juna & Vale, 1985). Again, Export tried to create a contradiction, by taking a very erotic part of the body and offering it the way she wanted to people. The box and her blatant offering defused the situation from any eroticism.

Export then began to refer to her work as Media Aktionism. She wanted to use her body in a feminist and semiotic way. During one performance called "Erosion", Export rolled her naked body over broken glass. By doing so, she wanted to put a new code on the naked body. Export tried to change the male gaze by showing the male her body the way she wanted to, as opposed to what they were used to.

"In 1973, Export did a performance called "Kausalgie" where the silhouette of a man is burned into a large wax plate with a gas flame. Export lies naked in the outline of this silhouette, her body warmth slowly changing the wax bed and her body image forming in the cooling wax. Slowly she separates herself from its rigidity and moves toward the edge, which is however lined with barbed wire, whereby the wax vaporizes. She separates herself from the waxen model and thus symbolically from the conceptual rigidity of man. The remaining traces are filled with molten lead , which slowly cools. A likeness remains, the traces are covered up." (Newsweda, 1991). By performing Kausalgie, Export wanted to free the spirit and liberate her body from the concepts of society. By subjecting her body to the painful branding process, there was a liberation from social branding because she was in control of her image.

From then on, Export continued to perform and go on to other media. She had produced other Body Art, photographs, screenplays, five films, installations, and important theoretical and historical writings such as "The Real and Its Double: The Body" and her manifesto "Aspects of Feminist Actionism". For the past 30 years, Export has been living alone and dividing her time between Vienna and Milwaukee, where she teaches film at the University of Wisconsin.


Valie Export ’s artistic work comprises: video environments, digital photography, installation, body performances, feature films, experimental films, documentaries, Expanded Cinema, conceptual photography, body-material interactions, Persona Performances, laser installations, objects, sculptures, texts on contemporary art history and feminism.

1967 Invention of her artist name Valie Export: an artistic concept and logo to be written in capital letters only

Since 1968 participation in international exhibitions, for example: Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Institute of Contemporary Art, London; Venice Biennale; documenta, Kassel; MoCA, Los Angeles; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; MUMOK, Vienna; Generali Foundation, Vienna; P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York; Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai; Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles; Tate Modern, London; Metropolitan Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea; Metropolitan Museum, New York; ars electronica, Linz/Austria.
Screenings at international film and video festivals, for example London Underground Film Festiva; London International Film Festival; Filmex, Los Angeles; Berlin International Film Festival as well as film festivals in Cannes, Montréal, Vancouver, San Francisco, Locarno, Hongkong, Sidney, New York, etc.

Since 2005 member of the supervisory board Linz – Europe’s Cultural Capital 2009


2005 “VALIE EXPORT. Workshow”, The Essl Collection, Kosterneuburg/Austria.

Exhibition “VALIE EXPORT: Series”, Austrian Gallery Belvedere, Atelier Augarten, Vienna. Curator Thomas Trummer

“(Re)presenting Performance”, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

“Open Systems: Rethinking Art c. 1970”, Tate Modern, London. Curator: Donna De Salvo

“Die Macht der Sprache/The Power of Language”, exhibition together with Elfriede Jelinek, Olga Neuwirth, Austrian Cultural Forum, New York


2004 the artist participates in the group exhibition “The Last Picture Show: Artists Using Photography, 1960-1982”, at Fotomuseum Winterthur, UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

Exhibition “VALIE EXPORT Un die en 1967” at the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Sevilla.

“VALIE EXPORT Rétrospective E la Nave Va”, MAMCO Genève.

“VALIE EXPORT” solo exhibition at Camden Arts Center, London, Sigmund Freud Museum, London

Film retrospective at the National Film Theatre, London.

Video-Laser-Speech-Text installation “Was für eine seltsame Maschine/What a bizarre machine”, shown at the exhibition “phonorama. Eine Kulturgeschichte der STIMME als Medium/ A Cultural History of the Voice as a Medium” ZKM/Museum of Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe. Curator: Brigitte Felderer.

At a retrospecitve, EXPORT presents her Expanded Cinema „up + down + on + off “ in the realm of „EXPANDED CINEMA Film“ as a spectacle, event and performance at Phoenix Hall, Dortmund/Germany.


2003 Exhibition “VALIE EXPORT Mediale Anagramme” at the Academy of Arts, Berlin, selected and organised by RealismuStudio, NGBK Berlin

Exhibition “VALIE EXPORT” in the Centre National de la Photographie, Paris. Curator: Caroline Bourgeois together with Juan Vicente Aliaga

Since 2003 head of the University Council of the University for the Arts, Linz

Member of the Academy of Arts, Berlin.


2002 some of EXPORT’s works in a soloshow are presented in a solo exhibition at Patrick Painter, Santa Monica, USA

A 6 -series video installation is developed “Die Macht der Sprache/The Power of Language”, shown in a solo exhibition “Pol’yp*to”ton”, at CHARIM Gallery, Vienna


2001 „Ob/De+Con(Struction)“, soloshow, at Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, CA.


2000 EXPORT is awarded the Oskar-Kokoschka-Prize Vienna.
Due to political reasons, EXPORT refuses to have the prize handed over by the conservative Austrian government. The prize is consiged by the head of the independent jury. The prize is dedicated by VALIE EXPORT to the artistic project “Mediale Analyse faschistoider Politik. Politische Manipulation und manipulative Konstruktion von Lüge und Wahrheit in Bild- und Informationstechnologien /Media Analysis of Fashistoid Politics. Political Manipulation and Manipulative Construction of Lies and Truth in the Image- and Information-Based Technologies ”. The project is presented together with Peter H. Karall, Bettina Birxa, Franz Schandl, Bady Mink, Silvia Eiblmar at the Gallery im Taxispalais, Innsbruck and accompanied by a brochure.

“Kubus EXPORT – The Transparent Space” is installed under the Gürtelbrücke 48 in Vienna.

“Ob/De+Con(Struction)”, EXPORT’s first comprehensive show of her artistic work in the U.S, at Goldy Paley Gallery, Philadelphia, curator director Elsa Longhauser


1998/99 permanent installation „Landschaftmesser/Landscape Knive“, a memorial sculpture in public space at Allensteig/Austria


1998 EXPORT and the design team Syntax/Cologne are awarded the CD-ROM prize of the Videonale Bonn for “Bilder der Berührungen”


1997 Monika Faber is curator of the retrospective “VALIE EXPORT Split: Reality” at the Museum of Modern Art, Stiftung Ludwig, Museum of the 20th Century, Vienna


1996 Generali Foundation Vienna presents her filmic work in the exhibhition “White Cube/Black Box” (together with Gordon Matta-Clark)


1995-2005 Professor for Mulitmedia and Performance at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne


1995 “Violation – Schnitte – Schnitte in die weibliche Sexualität und Psyche/Cuts in the female sexuality and psyche", a video/photography-text-speech-sound installation, (work in progress). The work deals with the female mutilation


1994-95 EXPORT is vice president at the University of the Arts, Berlin


1994 „Anagramatic Body“, a text-laser installation and „Der Schrei/The Scream“, a laser-text-video installation are both laser projections of text chronicles written by Tibetan, Buddhist nuns and monks which are projected on to black waste oil in a metal pool and the laryngoscope recording of the artist’s glottis and glossolalic speech is visualised by means of an oscillograph working in the audio range. The element of the glossolalic speech is taken from the video essay „Das Unsagbare Sagen“, made in co-operation with Ingrid Wiener and Oswald Wiener


1992 Retrospective of EXPORT’s artistic work at Upper Austrian Gallery/Museum of Linz

Film and video retrospective at the Moviemento in Linz


1991/97/99/2003 International Summer Academy Salzburg


1991-95 Professor for Design, Media/Visual Communication at the University of Arts, Berlin


1991 concept and organisation of the international symposium „Entfesselung der Geschlechter. Eine neue Lektüre zur Geschlechteridentität/Un-Leashing the Sexes – A New Reading On the Gender Identity“ for the Vienna Festival Weeks


1988 Festival Award, San Francisco International Video Festival


Since 1989 digital photographic works, computer-generated photography, for example „Stand up. Sit down“


1987 Retrospective of all her avant-garde and feature films at the National Film Theatre, London


1985 EXPORT’s feature film „The Practice of Love“ is nominated for a Golden Bear Award at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Concept and organisation of the exhibition „Kunst mit Eigen-Sinn. Aktuelle Kunst von Frauen/Art with A Sense of Its Own. Contemporary Artworks from Female Artists”, feat, with Silvia Eiblmayr, Catrin Pichler, Monika Prischle-Maier, Museum of Modern Art, Stiftung Ludwig, Museum of the 20th Century, Vienna


1983 realisation of the Avantgarde film „Syntagma“ and in 1984 of the third feature film "Die Praxis der Liebe"/„The Practice of Love“, director and script writer is again VALIE EXPORT. The film is a political thriller: a successful, joung journalist reveals the speciousness of her environment and threatens to perish under this pressure


1982 Participation at the 42th Venice Biennale, Ambiente


From 1981 on, the artist holds lectures at universities and art colleges, for example Art School of Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC, the Art Institute of Chicago, Walker Art Center, Stanford University, CA etc.

In the 1980s, EXPORT is visiting professor for film, video, performance and installation at several universities in the U.S. 1983-91 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, full professor, 1987 and 1988 San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco State and at a number of universities in Europe 1979 in Braunschweig, 1983/84 in Munich


1980 VALIE EXPORT represents Austria at the Venice Biennale, Austrian Pavilion (with Maria Lassnig)


1979 VALIE EXPORT’s second feature film „Menschenfrauen“/”Humanwomen" Director: VALIE EXPORT, script: Peter Weibel in co-operation with VALIE EXPORT. World premiere in 1980 at the Berlin International Film Festival, International Forum of Young Films


1978 Body performance „I (beat (it))“.

Participation at the 38th Vencie Biennale, Arte et Cinema, Opera storiche documenti e materiali attuali 1916–1978


1977 EXPORT participates at documenta 6, Kassel.


1976 first feature film "Unsichtbare Gegner"/„Invisible Adversaries“, director: VALIE EXPORT in co-operation with Peter Weibel, script: Peter Weibel in co-operation with VALIE EXPORT based on an idea of VALIE EXPORT. The film is presented for the first time at the Berlin International Film Festival, International Forum of Young Films in 1977


1975 Concept and organisation of the exhibition „MAGNA. Feminism: Art and Creativity. An overview of the female sexuality, imagination, projection and problems, suggested by a tableau of objects, images, lectures, discussions, films, videos and actions“ at Gallery Nächst St. Stephan, Vienna as well as the concept and organisation of the first symposium dealing with this subject in the realm of the 21. International Art Talks at Gallery Nächst St. Stephan, Vienna


1973 she creates the films „...Remote...Remote...“, „Man & Woman & Animal“ and the body action „Asemie or the Inability of Expressing Oneself Through Facial Expressions “

For the Expanded Cinema action „Adjunct Dislocations“, EXPORT mounts two 8mm cameras to the upper part of her body, one dorsally, the other frontally, and explores the rural and natural environment by choreographic movements

"Schriftzug Wien - Venedig" photo/literature


1972/1976 creation of drawings, films and images dealing with the representation of mental states, for example the work „Zwangsvorstellung“, sleeping with ice skates on.

EXPORT develops the photographic cycles „Körperkonfigurationen. Extremitäten des Verhaltens – sichtbare Externalisierungen innerer Zustände durch Konfigurationen des Körpers mit seiner Umgebung, in der Architektur und in der Natur/Body Configurations. Extremities of Behaviour – Visible Externalisations of Inner States by Configurating the Body with its Environment, Architecture and Nature”, she continues working on these cycles until 1982

EXPORT often stays in Belgium where she produces sculptures and actions installed and performed in the dunes and at the seaside, as well as drawings and Conceptual Photography. She also works on drawings, photo and video works dealing with the re-enactment of historical images of the female body, partly by means of video cross-fading


1972 on the occasion of a group exhibition with a number of female artists, EXPORT composes the manifesto „Women’s Art. A Manifesto“, published in: Neues Forum, Vienna, 1973.

EXPORT continues working on the photographic cycle "Identitäts Transfer/Identity Transfer“


1971/72 „Interrupted Line“, a film on time and space


1971 „Eros/ion“, a body-material interaction, is shown at Electric Cinema, Amsterdam and at other places.

First "Kinderzeichnungen/Children’s Drawings“, for example "Die Vorstellung eines Kindes Gott ist ein Mann/A Child’s Imagination of God being a Man“


1970 her video action „Split – Reality“ is screened in London.

Creation of the video installation „Touching. Body Poem"

In Frankfurt, EXPORT has a suspender belt tattooed on her thigh, „Body Sign Action“

Creation of Conceptual Photography: "Zeitgedicht/ 24 Stunden 24 mal fotografiert/Temporal Poem/ 24 Hours Photographed 24 Times"


1969 in her performance „Genital Panic“ at Stadtkino Munich, EXPORT wears trousers with the crotchcut out; in the same year, she creates the poster "Aktionshose : Genitalpanik/Action Pants: Genital Panic“ and a photo series


1969 EXPORT concerns herself with Biochemical Engineering, Biophysics, Environment Simulation, Man-Machine Relation, for example her „Tonfilm/Sound Movie" project, a bio-technical experiment where a photoelectrical amplifier is implanted in the glottis


Since 1968 film installations, actions, body performances


1968 EXPORT composes the body action and photo literature „Sehtext: Fingergedicht “, „ich sage die zeige mit zeichen im zeigen der sage“, based on Martin Heidegger

In the same year, EXPORT participates in the „2nd Maraisiade Junger Film“ in Vienna. Her film „Ping Pong“, Expanded Cinema, is awarded the Maraisiade’s prize for the most political film. This film festival showcases the premiere of the mobile and first women’s film „TAPP und TASTKINO/TOUCH CINEMA", Expanded Cinema, including an introductory text/statement by VALIE EXPORT. *

At the „1st European Conference of International Independent Filmmakers“ in Munich, „TAPP und TASTKINO/TOUCH CINEMA" is screened, accompanied by a lecture by Peter Weibel. Furthermore, it is presented by VALIE EXPORT in Vienna (Cafe Savoy), Munich (Circus Krone), Cologne (presented by Erika Mis), Amsterdam, Breda, Eindhoven and London


1967-68 first Expanded Cinema works, film actions: „Cutting“, Expanded Cinema, deals with the film editing process by means of paper – textile – body screen; „abstract film nr.1“ deals with the production of a film without using celluloid. Another idea of "abstract film n°1" was that everyone in the world could do an "abstract film n°1" according to EXPORT's specifications.

1967 Invention of her artist name VALIE EXPORT: an artistic concept and logo to be written in capital letters only

1966 first screenplay, a concept for the short film "Aus alt macht nicht neu”, an association of a metaphoric image


1965-68 EXPORT works in the film industry as a script girl at Ciné-Film, Vienna, as editor and extra


1960-64 EXPORT moves to Vienna; attends the Hoehere Bundeslehr- und Versuchsanstalt for Textile Industry, Department Design, Diplom


1955-58 first self-portraits; attends the School for the Arts and Crafts, Linz


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