Body sign A by Valie Export, 1970
Marina Abramovic is pictured, but I’d like to think this is part of (perhaps an homage to) Valie Export’s “Action Pants: Genital Panic,” a performance in which the artist “entered a cinema wearing trousers with a triangle of fabric removed at the crotch and walked between the rows of seated viewers with a machine gun in her hands. Her action was intended to confront the cliché of women’s cinematic representation as passive objects. The posters were then fly-posted in the streets. ‘I wanted to be provocative, to provoke, but also aggression was part of my intention…I sought to change the people’s way of seeing and thinking.’ (Text from hybridutterance.wordpress.com.)
Valie Export, Aktionshose: Genitalpanik (Action Pants: Genital Panic), 1969
Valie Export entered a cinema wearing trousers with a triangle of fabric removed at the crotch and walked between the rows of seated viewers with a machine gun in her hands. Her action was intended to confront the cliché of women’s cinematic representation as passive objects. The posters were then fly-posted in the streets. ‘I wanted to be provocative, to provoke, but also aggression was part of my intention…I sought to change the people’s way of seeing and thinking’.
It should come as no surprise that Action Pants: Genital Panic (1969) has become Valie Export’s signature work. A volatile mix of Fluxus happening, Situationist subversion, Viennese actionism, media critique, sexual politics and anarcho-terrorism, the work continues to influence and elicit debate. A defiant gesture born of the turbulence of 1968, it teeters between ideological inspiration and hopeless nihilism. Problematic from every angle - is it an act of female empowerment or feminine hysteria? - Export’s anti-spectacle is, at heart, a paradoxical affirmation of the self via a masochistic (and militant) fragmentation and exposure.
The few photos from 1969 are now iconic: Export sitting on a stone bench, leaning against a wall, bare footed, in a tight leather jacket, legs spread with the crotch of her jeans cut out to reveal pubic hair and labia, her facial features set in a stony stare, machine gun clenched in her fists, hair teased into a puffy mane, à la Robert Smith circa 1984. As the title indicates, Export is ready for action, but not perhaps the kind you’d expect. Dressed to kill, she’s a subculture of one: her disobedient pseudonym, cut-up fashion and predilection for self-abuse anticipating Punk by half a decade. […]
One of the first female artists to exploit film and video, Export’s work, perhaps more than anything else, is a meditation on the mediated subject. Everywhere in her hybrid practice one discovers the camera’s lurking gaze, sometimes discreetly recording her public interventions, while, in others it becomes an explicit (and invasive) instrument of physical deconstruction. […]
Twenty years before Donna Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto (1991) Export’s work proposed a subjective model based on a conscious process of transformation; a continual becoming something else; a continual moving elsewhere. Embracing the monstrous, the abject, the animal and the machine, Export presents a loaded, contradictory set of self-signifiers that cannot be easily absorbed, controlled or agreed on by either the spectacular commodity culture or the culture of criticism.
(Caption and smaller images via Hybrid utterance)
Valie Export - Body Sign Action, 1970
Body Sign Action,Frankfurt 1970
by Valie Export
Thanks for the link - been meaning to check out this artist in more detail/context since the the last one was circulating sans source, but never quite got around to it.
Valie Export, Body Sign Action, 1970
Glauben Sie nicht, dass ich eine Amazone bin / Don’t Believe I’m an Amazon (Ulrike Rosenbach, 1975)
See excerpt from video here.
“Ulrike Rosenbach is a pioneer and an important figure of video and performance art in Germany. After studying at the Düsseldorf Academy of Fine Arts from 1964 to 1970, Ulrike Rosenbach created her first video works in 1971, taught feminist art and media art in California and, after her return to Germany, founded the ‘School for Creative Feminism’ in Cologne. She uses video as not just an instrument of documentation but works with this medium in experimental and artistic ways. She began to use video to create “documents of her inner life” as early as 1972. She herself is the point of departure and the subject of her performances. In her so-called video live actions, she exposes patterns of female identity construction and develops strategies of self-determination. She deconstructs woman’s “image status” in traditional depictions of women in art, the media, commercial ads and film, marking the space of performance with materials which take on ritualistic associations and symbolic meanings.”
“In “Glauben Sie nicht, dass ich eine Amazone bin” (1975) the artist shoots arrows from a bow at a picture of the Holy Virgin. The image of the Virgin and that of the artist are superimposed on each other, she thus also shoots at herself. In this work, Rosenbach contrasts two stereotypical images of femininity, that of the Amazon and that of the Holy Virgin, refusing to identify with either.”
(Image and words via re.act.feminism)
Barbara Kruger - Untitled / You are seduced by the sex appeal of the inorganic, 1982