As you arrive at the show, you don’t know how to begin the tour: the images are all playing at the same time in the same place; all the senses are suddenly excited, searching for a cue to approach the work of one of performance art’s most important figures. For me, she is an obligatory reference for any artist conscious of their body.




Metanoia, at Tanja Grunert Gallery in New York, is her most recent show, comprising the most representative video work of her career. Twenty-nine pieces make up a kind of anthology of her production from 1968 to 2010: avant-garde films, video performances, “video-body actions,” and experimental videos.






“Being a pioneer of conceptual media art, EXPORT’s work explores feminist theories and challenges social and political topics. Working across media in body performances, video installations, and expanded cinema, her early guerilla performances have attained an iconic status in feminist art history. She provoked thought about the passive role of women in cinema and confrontation of the private nature of sexuality with the public venues of her performances. METANOIA is an extension of EXPORT’s active engagement with feminism and her desire to experiment in different languages, incorporating body language, structuralism, and sexual politics.” [1]






“By using video it was possible as a feminist artist to work very freely with the depiction of body consciousness.”







VALIE EXPORT is an Austria-based artist. Since 1968, she has developed a comprehensive and intense language through video environments, digital photography, installations, body performances, feature films, experimental films, documentaries, expanded cinema, conceptual photography, body-material interactions, persona performances, laser installations, objects, sculptures, texts on contemporary art history and feminism. EXPORT is one of the most important international pioneers of feminism, performance, and the conceptual milieu.




Born on May 17, 1940, in Linz, Austria, as Waltraud Lehner, she changed her name in 1967 to VALIE EXPORT (a brand of cigarettes) to export her ideas to the world.


[1] From curator Mitra Khorashesh’s text:

In an intervention of our Instagram that we have called «#Toma», Deborah Castillo injected our corneas with moving images of her visit to VALIE EXPORT’s Metanoia. To see more of her delivery, follow us or visit:


About the author:
Deborah Castillo is a Venezuelan artist dedicated to the arts of performance and sculpture. She currently lives and works in New York City.