Ana Mendieta | Untitled (Glass on Body Imprints) | 1972
Nancy Holt, Sun Tunnels (1973-1976)
In her 1968 performance Aktionshose:Genitalpanik (Action Pants: Genital Panic), Valie Export entered an art cinema in Munich, wearing crotchless pants, and walked around the audience with her exposed genitalia at face level. The associated photographs were taken in 1969 in Vienna, by photographer Peter Hassmann. The performance at the art cinema and the photographs in 1969 were both aimed toward provoking thought about the passive role of women in cinema and confrontation of the private nature of sexuality with the public venues of her performances. The contrast with what is usually called “cinema” is obvious, and is crucial to the message. In Valie Export’s performance, the female body is not packaged and sold by male directors and producers, but is controlled and offered freely by the woman herself, in defiance of social rules and state precepts. Also, the ordinary state-approved cinema is an essentially voyeuristic experience, whereas in Valie Export’s performance, the “audience” not only has a very direct, tactile contact with another person, but does so in the full view of Valie Export and bystanders.
Tap and Touch Cinema, performance, Valie Export, 1968-1971
This is a still of Tap and Touch Cinema. Valie Export went to many cities in Europe and allowed people to place their hands within the theatre box she is wearing and touch her body. She did this as a feminist art piece addressing the male gaze in cinema: basically the fetishization of women. She tried to destroy the pleasure in looking by returning the gaze of the man, as well as exposing his private pleasure to the public, creating self-reflection and hopefully destroying the pleasure in looking (scopophilia).
This method is kind of controversial, because the male seemed to be enjoying himself rather than becoming embarrassed.
Nancy Spero, “Black and the Red III” (2003)