Valie Export


Valie Export performing Genital Panic

Valie Export performing Genital Panicin Munich in an art cinema where experimental film-makers were showing their work. Wearing trousers from which a triangle had been removed at the crotch, the artist walked between the rows of seated viewers, her exposed genitalia at face-level. This confrontation challenged the perceived cliché of women’s historical representation in the cinema as passive objects denied agency. In a 1979 interview with Ruth Askey published in the Los Angeles-based performance magazine High Performance, EXPORT is quoted describing her action as having taken place in a pornographic film theatre. In this version of the story, the artist carried a machine gun and offered her sex to the audience while pointing the gun at people’s heads. As she moved from row to row, people silently got up and left the theatre (High Performance, Vol.4, Issue1, Spring 1981, p.80). Although it fulfils the promise of the image in the poster, this version of events has been emphatically denied by the artist (VALIE EXPORT, p.32)

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