EXPORT, VALIE (1940--) By Zulueta, Ricardo
Since the late 1960s, Austrian-born VALIE EXPORT has been an influential and controversial figure in feminist art history. Her artistic practice includes a variety of media such as performance, documentary, and narrative film, video installation, sculpture, photography, and theoretical writing. In 1967, she changed her name to VALIE EXPORT (in upper-case letters only), an alias suggested by the cigarette brand SMART EXPORT. EXPORT gained early international prominence for risqué guerrilla performances in which she used her own body to challenge the ways in which the female body is manipulated and eroticized in popular culture. In her renowned performance piece Tapp- und TastKino (Touch Cinema, 1968), she enclosed herself in a Styrofoam case with curtained openings intended to symbolize a film theater which concealed a movie screen actually represented by her bare chest. She walked around the streets of Vienna inviting passers-by to stick their hands through the drapes and feel her breasts, thus offering spectators a new film experience in which cinema was not to be experienced visually but tactually.