Characterized by their distinct generations, both artists explicitly engage with female identity and conventional gender constructions in a variety of media.
VALIE EXPORT (*1940) is an Austrian artist. Her work includes photography, video installations, body performances, expanded cinema, computer animations and sculptures. The action that gave rise to her photograph »Action Pants: Genital Panic« has become the subject of art historical legend. EXPORT performed »Genital Panic« in Munich in 1969: She is sitting on a chair against a wall wearing crotchless trousers, a leather shirt and holding a machine-gun. Her feet are bare and vulnerable, as are her genitals, and she holds the gun at chest level, apparently in readiness to turn it on the viewer towards whom her gaze is directed. This confrontation challenged the perceived cliché of women’s historical representation as passive objects denied agency.
Sylvie Fleury (*1961) is a contemporary Swiss artist known for her installations, sculptures, and mixed media. She has been commenting ironically on key works of the male-dominated art world since the 1990s, continuously expanding strategies for the (de-)construction of reality.