EXPORT, VALIE/Peter Weibel
Waltraud Lehner was born in Linz, Austria in 1940. From 1956 to 1959 she attended the School of Applied Arts in Linz. She then graduated from the Höhere Bundeslehr- und Versuchsanstalt für Textilindustrie, Vienna, from 1960 to 1964. In 1967 she created the name VALIE EXPORT as an artistic concept, new identity and brand. The artist was co-founder of the Austrian Filmmakers Cooperative in 1967 and participated in many international exhibitions, including Documenta 6 in 1977, as well as the Biennale di Venezia in 1978 and represented Austria (together with Maria Lassnig) at the Biennale di Venezia in the Austrian Pavilion in 1980. VALIE EXPORT taught at numerous institutions such as the Art Institute in San Francisco, the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, USA and the Hochschule der Künste, Berlin. From 1995/96 to 2005 VALIE EXPORT was professor for multimedia performance at the Academy of Media Arts, Cologne. In 1995 the artist received the Generali Foundation Sculpture Prize and in 2000 the Oskar Kokoschka Prize. In 2022 she was awarded the Max Beckmann Prize. In 2009 VALIE EXPORT was co-commissioner of the Austria Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. In 2022 she was awarded the Max Beckmann Prize and was honored with the Grand Decoration of Honor in Silver with Star for services to the Republic of Austria. In 2015, the city of Linz acquired her estate, including her archive, and in 2017 opened the VALIE EXPORT CENTER LINZ at the Tabakfabrik Linz. VALIE EXPORT lives and works in Vienna.
Peter Weibel was born in Odessa, Ukraine, in 1944. Multitalented, he studied literature, philosophy, film and comparative literature, briefly medicine in 1964, then mathematics and logic in Paris and Vienna without graduation. In 1978 he founded the band "Hotel Morphila Orchestra" with Loys Egg. In 1986 Peter Weibel became artistic advisor to Ars Electronica and from 1992 to 1995 its artistic director. From 1992 to 2011 he was chief curator of the Neue Galerie in Graz. He curated numerous exhibitions internationally, including the Austrian Pavilion for the Venice Biennale from 1993 to 1999, the Seville International Biennale in 2008, and the 4th Moscow Biennale in 2011. He was the author of seminal media theoretical and philosophical texts on contemporary art and editor of many publications.
From 1976 he taught at several international universities, including the College of Art and Design in Halifax, Canada, and the Gesamthochschule Kassel. From 1984 to 1988, he taught as Associate Professor of Video and Digital Arts at the Center for Media Study at the State University of New York at Buffalo, N. Y., where he founded the Digital Arts Laboratory. From 1984 to 2017, he was professor of visual media design at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. From 1989 to 1994, he was director at the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main, where he was entrusted with establishing the "Institute for New Media." From 2009 to 2012 he held a visiting professorship at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. From 2018 to 2019, he taught at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. From 1999 to 2023, Prof. Dr. h.c. mult. Peter Weibel artistic-scientific director of the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe (ZKM) and from 2017 until his passing director of the "Peter Weibel - Research Institute for Digital Cultures" at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Among a large number of other prizes, honors and awards, he received the Film Prize of the City of Berlin in 1974, the Prix National of the 31st Festival for TV and Film, Cannes in 1984, the Sculpture Prize of the EA-Generali Foundation, Vienna in 1991, the Prize of the City of Vienna for Visual Arts in 1992, the Siemens Media Art Prize in 1997, the Grand Decoration of Honor for Services to the Republic of Austria in 2002, the Käthe Kollwitz Prize in 2004, the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art I. Class in 2010. Klasse, in 2014 the Oskar Kokoschka Prize for his complete artistic oeuvre, and in 2017 the Austrian Art Prize for Media Art and in 2021, most recently, the Trebbia Prize. Peter Weibel died in Karlsruhe in 2023.
VALIE EXPORT and Peter Weibel collaborated in the late 1960s and in the 1970s, particularly in the area of "Expanded Cinema" and on several spectacular actions or happenings. In their shared work, EXPORT and Weibel subjected the social interrelations of an existence lived in the media to a radical investigation. In the process, they exposed both the principles inherent in film and the way in which these are linked to political mechanisms and communication techniques.
As co-founders of an organization called the "multi media group", in 1969 they organized "Publikum als Ausstellung," an early performance, which for the first time employed video as a new medium. In their "Expanded Cinema" works they combined an analysis of the cinematic medium with a process of opening it up and questioning it with a number of happening-like elements. Peter Weibel appeared as the main protagonist in EXPORT’s "Cutting" (1967-68), and authored the script for EXPORT’s feature film "Unsichtbare Gegner" ("Invisible Adversaries") (1976-77). With the photographic documentation from "Aus der Mappe der Hundigkeit" (1969), the Generali Foundation owns one of the central works of Austrian art history. In "Das Magische Auge" ("electronic ray tube," 1969), EXPORT and Weibel employed technical wizardry in such a way as to cause fluctuations of the light to be expressed as fluctuations of sound, resulting in a situation at the projection whereby a unique sound-collage was produced on each occasion. In 1969, EXPORT and Weibel went on an "Artwar Campaign" through Germany and Switzerland, using aggressive infringements of taboos as a way of declaring war on what they saw as the public’s passive voyeurism and firmly-entrenched normative conduct. However, the tactics applied, such as public floggings and the throwing of barbed-wire balls, led to a major uproar in a hall in the city of Essen, where EXPORT suffered an "artwar" injury, leading in the end to a ban on further performances. Under the title of "Bildkompendium Wiener Aktionismus und Film," the two artists published an important photographic documentation of these currents in 1970, which led to court appearances for both on charges of infringements against the anti-pornography law. (Monika Vykoukal)