Visual Text: Finger Poem, 2 min, 1973
The body as carrier of information, in order to convey both spiritual and physical contents, is the reflected image of the internal/psychological and of the external/institutional reality. – VALIE EXPORT
Syntagma, 18 min, 1984
The striking insistence in Syntagma on the fragmented body of the woman, mute for the most part, has a twofold and seemingly contradictory impact. Fragmentation first appears to be the repetition of a trauma, until finally its frenetic pace turns into deliberate composition. In the traumatic sense, fragmentation reflects the epitome of objectification, an itemization of the goods: arms, legs, shoulders, breasts, faces, the depersonalized review of the chattel’s grade. The point is that while women may be objectified, they do not necessarily become objects. – Roswitha Müller
Ocula: The film Poems (1966–1980) includes a poem written in two stanzas. The first series of lines denote things you did and the structures to which they belong—for example, “I was born at the hospital which belongs to the city of Linz” and “I suckled the breast which belongs to my mother”—while the second stanza consists of bodily actions that belong to you, such as “I screamed the voice that belongs to me.” Both stanzas end with, “That’s the life that belongs to me.” How does this work sit within your practice?
VALIE EXPORT: This poem is connected to my artistic practice and to the rules of society—for instance, “I was afraid of the bombs that belonged to the state of England,” or, “I cried for my father, whose death belonged to the fatherland.” These are rules that one wants to fight, break, and rise up against. All the while, the voice belongs to me. Much later, in 2007, I gave a performance at the Venice Biennale, where I showed the voice as a body, titled The voice as performance, act and body.
Read VALIE EXPORT’s full interview with Ocula here. All stills, photographs, and artwork courtesy ©VALIE EXPORT and Sixpack Film. Screening co-presented with Sixpack Film.