VALIE EXPORT featured as one of the highlights of Rencontres d’Arles by The Guardian The festival focuses on the Feminist Avantgarde from the 1970s
With 200 works by 71 female artists, a new exhibition of pioneering photography was ‘too quiet and poetic’ to be properly appreciated in the 1970s
The Rencontres d’Arles present, for the first time in France, the exhibition A Feminist Avant-Garde: Photographs and performances from the 1970s from the Verbund Collection, Vienna, with over 200 works by 71 female artists. It will be held at Mécanique Générale, Parc des Ateliers, Arles, France until 25 September.
Actionist, provocative and poetic – the exhibition makes clear that the works are drawn from many different schools of feminism.
The exhibition is divided into five themes: women’s reduction to ‘wife, mother, and housewife’; their resulting feeling of ‘being locked up’; the questioning of ‘dictates of beauty and representations of female bodies’; explorations of ‘female sexuality’; and debates around ‘female roles and identities’.
Western countries saw the emergence of the second wave of the women’s movement against a backdrop of the 1968 student movement, the ‘sexual revolution’ and efforts to overcome the traditional moral values of the wartime generation. Women came to see that their problems were not ‘personal’ but instead arose from established social structures of power and dominance. Women in western countries rebelled against legal discrimination which meant that a man, as head of a family, could make far-reaching decisions affecting women and children. (...)"