Thursday, January 30, 2014


VALIE EXPORT. sixpackfilm
DocPoint Vanishing Point, Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 30 Jan 2014.
Prints from sixpackfilm. Total duration 79 min
In the presence of VALIE EXPORT, introduced by Mika Taanila.

In her introduction VALIE EXPORT discussed feminism, the exclusion of women from even Wiener Aktionismus, and that nothing has really changed: women earn less. "I rarely see my films on a cinema screen. Mostly they are seen in gallery exhibitions." She discussed her intellectual awakening with semantics, Lévi-Strauss, Wittgenstein. Also the Austrian guilty consciousness of the Nazi era: the Wiener Kreis heritage was not respected in the 1960s; first recently has there been true interest in it. As a performance artist she turned to video to see her own performance, for the feedback, for the Gleichzeitigkeit. She discussed expanded cinema: time and space separated but together.

Mika Taanila in the DocPoint catalogue: "In 1967 clothing designer Waltraud Lehner had seen enough of the assistant and secretarial positions that were the only things available for women in the Viennese filmmaking scene.  She began to refer to herself with the artistic concept and logo-like name VALIE EXPORT, always spelled with capital letters."

"EXPORT attacks distorted structures of the class society and the hypocrisy of the Bourgeoisie with her art. She usually plays the lead in her productions that are cinematically realized intense artistic performances. Her accomplished main works of the short form Mann & Frau & Animal (1971), …Remote…Remote… (1973), and the complex masterpiece Syntagma (1984) are examples EXPORT’s concepts of one’s body as a battlefield – a canvas onto which things can be projected."

"Facing a family (1971) was one of the first televised interventions in the history of video art. Random television viewers got so see themselves, like through a mirror, eating their dinners and watching their television. In the exhilirating Elfried Jelinek. News from Home 18.8.88 (1988) a nobel-winning author, known news-buff in his home country, sits in an armchair and comments the TV news to his friend."

"I turn over the pictures of my voice in my head (2009), a video piece, is based on an art performance made for Venice Biennale. As EXPORT recites a poem, a microscopic camera observes her vocal cords." Mika Taanila / translation by Anna Pöyhönen, Doc Point catalogue

DocPoint / Cinema Orion programme notes by Mika Taanila.

Selbstportrait mit Kopf
AT 1966/67, 4 min, b&w, silent
Cinematography: Rosemarie de Morpurgo Varzi Lehner.

"In her first film self-portrait, VALIE EXPORT wears an attention-getting curly wig and caresses a woman’s breasts in slow motion, then lasciviously closes and opens her eyes. The carefully applied makeup and wig tell of disguise and acting, and are simultaneously beautiful and terribly stony like the anonymous woman’s head. The brevity and slow speed are reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests, in which every single one of the face’s movements become visible." (Brigitta Burger-Utzer)

AA: Two heads: a sculpted bust and VALIE. Beautiful black and white despite the bad dvd.

Tapp und Tastkino
AT 1968, 2 min
Betacam SP PAL, German commentary [untitled version]

"Moreover, taking this performance into the street – an open space, an area of social demonstration – was a way of bursting the protective cocoon of the darkened cinema, where the spectator can give free rein to his voyeuristic urges. In this particular case, the man’s courage is put to the test; he is invited to overcome his shyness and approach the body-object." (Juan Vicente Aliaga)

AA: A reportage of a provocative performance: instead of a peepshow this is a peep-touch-box installed on VALIE's bust. 

Die süsse Nummer. Ein Konsumerlebnis
AT 1969, 7 min
Cinematography: Hermann Hendrich.
digibeta * English subtitles

"An Experience of Consumption. The subtitle of this merry performance is An Action Text, indicating that the artist’s introduction for the vaudeville number was an inflammatory impetus. VALIE EXPORT provides precise instructions for the use of a wrapped box of chocolate-covered candy produced by the renowned Viennese company Hofbauer. However she has not made an advertisement for them and their presentation, with Vienna’s landmark, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, she extols it as a work of art instead." (Brigitta Burger-Utzer)

AA: In the Duchamp tradition, a consumer product - Bonbons aus Wien - alienated in an art context. A weak video quality with video static.

Ein Hauchtext: Liebesgedicht
AT 1970, 3 min
Betacam SP PAL

"Breath Text is a powerfully simple performance in which VALIE EXPORT creates tension by breathing compulsively". (sixpackfilm)

AA: She huffs and puffs, getting the glass all fogged up. 

Facing a Family
AT 1971, 5 min
Betacam SP PAL

"In Facing a Family, a family is observed watching television. The viewer becomes the object of the family's gaze, as much as the family is the object of the viewer's gaze. Writes Roswitha Mueller,"The electronic and the real gaz-es cross without interacting." Facing a Family was originally broadcast on Austrian Network Television, February 2, 1971". (sixpackfilm)

AA: Turning the camera to the viewers, the watching family becoming the object watched.

Interrupted Line
AT 1972, 6 min, silent
Cinematography: VALIE EXPORT.
16 mm

"The middle line marking of the road is filmed through the windscreen of a moving car simultaneously with its own reflection in the driving mirror. The repeated interruptions of the space/time line are as big as a car. The car as a connecting link in time. The cinema as interruption of normal time flow." (VALIE EXPORT)

AA: The windscreen and the driver's mirror as meta-screens. This work belongs to the continuity also explored by Kiarostami.

Body Tape
AT 1970, 5 min
Betacam SP PAL

"1: Touching
 2: Boxing
 3: Feeling
 4: Hearing
 5: Tasting
 6: Pushing
 7: Walking.
 In a series of witty, minimalist exercises that are introduced by intertitles, VALIE EXPORT explores the relationship between word and action." (sixpackfilm)
AA:  Her fists, her tongue, her feet against the glass: a performance video.

AT 1973, 8 min
Cinematography: Hermann Hendrich.
digibeta PAL

"Hyperbulie is a performance work that pushes the body to its physical extremes. The performance elements are first established: a framework of wires are connected to electric batteries. VALIE EXPORT appears and makes contact with live electricity as she negotiates the wire construction." (sixpackfilm)

AA: Stretching the boundaries of performance with electricity, VALIE exposes her naked body to shocks. 

Body Politics
AT 1974, 3 min
Cinematography Peter Weibel. Male performer: Hermann Hendrich.
digibeta PAL

"The nature of communication between the sexes is predetermined in our society. The politics of behavior that our society imposes upon men and woman can be demonstrated in physical form.
The escalator, consisting of stairs moving downward, demonstrates the existing communication systems in five separate phases. A man and a women are connected by a rope tied around their bodies." 

AA: A playful performance with two escalators, one going upwards, the other downwards, featuring VALIE EXPORT and Hermann Hendrich. Gegeneinander - miteinander - zueinander - füreinander - einander.

Asemie – the Inability Expressing Oneself through Facial Expressions.
AT 1973, 10 min
Cinematography: Kurt Talos.
digibeta PAL

"This work documents a ritualistic performance concerned with "Ansemia," or the inability to either express or understand gesture. Using symbolic materials -- hot wax, a knife, a dead bird -- as well as text, Export investigates human expression, and how communication can fail." (sixpackfilm)

AA:  A performance, a naked VALIE kneeling down, tying threads, harassing a parrot. No more than in Monty Python's Dead Parrot Sketch were any live parrots harmed.

Mann & Frau & Animal
AT 1971, 9 min
Cinematography: Didi. Male voice: Herrmann Hendrich.
16 mm

"The earlier films of VALIE EXPORT, one feels, were motivated by the author's desire and needs to investigate her own subjectivity, with the audience as a necessary part of the transference and polemic. Mann & Frau & Animal ("Man & Woman & Animal") shows a woman finding pleasure in herself, the whole film a kind of assertion and affirmation of female sexuality and its independence from male values and pleasures. Thinking about my "quite erotic" tag of that film I realize that as a viewer I am experiencing a sexuality like that of childhood - one motivated by curiosity, a prosaic pleasure in looking, but free from fantasy. It is quite unlike the experience of ordinary pornography which is invested with the erotic almost exclusively through its symbolization of power." (Joanna Kiernan)

AA: Performance as transgression. In the bathroom, she showers her opened vagina, in extreme close-up, until reaching an orgasm. There is a growling vagina, a blood-spattered vagina, a pulsating vagina. The whales are singing.

AT 1973, 10 min
Cinematography: Didi
16 mm

"Human behaviour in contrast to machines (animals) is influenced by events in the past, as far back as these experiences may lie. Therefore there exists a psychic paratime parallel to the objective time, where the prayers of anguish and guilt, the inability to win, deformations which rip open the skin, becoming aware of oneself, have their constant effects. I demonstrate something which represents past and present." (VALIE EXPORT)

AA: Photo enlargements of children. Reflection, reflecting. Tearing her nail skin with a knife. - VALIE's personal favourite film. - I confess I blocked the views of the slashing at this first viewing of the film. And consequently I blocked the entire film.

Raumsehen und Raumhören
AT 1974, 7 min
Cinematography: Wink van Kempen, Henk Elenga, Frederic Kappelhof / Linjbaan Centrum, Rotterdam.
Betacam SP PAL

"Simple and elegant video performance in which the artist, while standing completely still in a studio, is moved about in space and real time via multiple camera techniques. Sound consists of an original electronic score composed by the artist. The piece is constructed in sections similar to those of a musical composition." (sixpackfilm)

AA: Atavistic video art, split screen, electronic sound, low definition.

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