Cutting, 1967-1968

Born in 1940 in Linz, Austria, Valie Export studied at the School of Textile Design in Vienna until 1964, when she began to devote herself to film, video, photography, sculpture, performance and writing. In 1967 she began to work in the expanded cinema medium with works such as Cutting, Abstract Film No. 1 and Tapp und Tastkino. In her interventions and installations, Export reflects elements of the structure of film and links them to feminist-inspired studies which have to do with the relationship between the body and the cinema. Export co-founded the Austria Filmmakers Cooperative in 1968 and has been a highly influential figure on the international artistic scene for decades.

Cutting deals with the cinematic technique of "cutting," or editing, and its importance in terms of the construction of filmic reality. The first part of the film shows a house projected onto a paper screen. The artist cuts out the window of a house with a pair of scissors, giving the impression that she is really opening it. Next, Marshall McLuhan's sentence: "The content of the writing is the speech" is cut out of the illuminated surface of the screen. The last word, however, is pronounced by the artist making the meaning of the spoken sentence a reality. The commitment to the abstract signs of linguistics triggers the image as well as contact with the human body, when Valie Export uses an actor's Bazzoka T-shirt to make a cloth screen, cutting out the bubblegum bubble. Subsequently, the body, now naked, serves as a living screen, the sign of which (the body hair) is shaved by the artist. The act of fellatio at the end clearly shows the most direct form of communication which eschews words and images.

Technical details

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MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
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Single-channel video, b/w, sound, 1 min 41 s
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
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The MACBA Collection features Catalan, Spanish and international art and, although it includes works from the 1920s onwards, its primary focus is on the period between the 1960s and the present.

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Blue protects white from innocence. Blue drags black with it. Blue is darkness made visible.
Derek Jarman