VALIE EXPORT’s artistic work comprises video installations, body performances, expanded cinema, computer animations, photography, sculptures, and publications all encompass contemporary arts.
Genitalpanik (Genital Panic) is a series of photographs and posters that emerged from an action VALIE EXPORT performed in Munich in 1968. The photograph depicts Export sitting on a bench with bare feet, legs open, trousers torn around the region of her genitals, while holding a machine-gun. The artist holds the gun at chest level, as if ready to aim at the viewer, at whom her gaze is already directed. Her thick, wild hair and leather jacket emphasise her image as a rebel or activist. The action that gave rise to the photograph was named ‘Action Pants: Genital Panic’. It has become known as major event of historical, artistic importance. VALIE EXPORT performed Genital Panic in Munich in an art cinema where experimental filmmakers were exhibiting their work. Wearing trousers, from which a triangle of material had been removed from the genital region, the artist walked between the rows of seated viewers, her exposed genitalia at face-level. This confrontation challenged the perceived expectations of women’s historical representation in cinema as passive objects, denied all agency.