The international fame of “Viennese Actionism” has been tenaciously tied to its male exponents.
Except for VALIE EXPORT who succeeded to establish herself outside Austria with her Body Art actions and her “Expanded Cinema” and Birgit Jürgenssen whose work has come to be known as far as America, the female Actionists who made their appearance in the 1970s and ’80s were only reluctantly noted by art history. After all, Renate Bertlmann, Linda Christanell, Rita Furrer, Margot Pilz or Inge Opitz caused quite a stir with their art actions, not only in the Galeries of Grita Insam and Ursula Krinzinger, or the “Galerie im Griechenbeisl”, but also in museums, art associations, and at the 1983 Performance Week in Krems.
Following the retrospective show “Mothers of Invention” (2003) at the mumok Factory and “Matrix” (2008) at the MUSA, the presentation at the Forum Frohner continues and deepens the research on the most important female protagonists of Austrian Actionism, juxtaposing photographic and filmic documentations of art actions with a number of surviving relics or props. Before the term “performance” entered the scene of visual-art-as-theater, art actions were mainly used to make and convey socio-political statements. Other subjects include women’s everyday symbolism, where the questioning of identity was done with a fine edge and subtle sense of humor. Self-reflections of the objectified female body are turned into a projection surface for fine puns and linguistic wit underpinned with a structuralist take on matters that mainly uses the media of video, photography, and film.
Artists: Renate Bertlmann, Linda Christanell, VALIE EXPORT, Rita Furrer, Birgit Jürgenssen, Kiki Kogelnik, Friedl Kubelka Bondy, Inge Opitz and Margot Pilz
Curators: Brigitte Borchhardt-Birbaumer, Dieter Ronte
Concept: Brigitte Borchhardt-Birbaumer, Hans-Peter Wipplinger