screen print, framed
65 × 49 cm
Inv. No. 0379
It is the verve of opposition and critique that give VALIE EXPORT, a pioneer of feminist art, her remarkable youthful élan. A fighting attitude and belief in the possibility of change also characterize her art, which is informed by an analysis of society, politics, and civilization.
The cubic die is a recurrent motif in her work. It meets us as architecture, taking, for example, the form of a pavilion like in her Cube EXPORT – The Transparent Space (1999) underneath an arched subway viaduct on Lerchenfelder Gürtel in Vienna. It meets us in photo montages as in Woman with Dice (1989), a picture from a series of works in the tradition of Dadaist collages, in which EXPORT fuses elements from the object world, the animal kingdom, or architecture into the (female) body. We also see it in her video Anagrammatic Composition with Game of Dice (2010). Following an Instruction for the composing of waltzes by means of two dice … ascribed to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, EXPORT uses this oldest randomized composition technique to dice out a piece of music, and then renders the melody filmically, as a video, and sculpturally, as a glass screen. In a developer’s ambitious building project, she again uses the shape for an artistic intervention, strewing cubic dice out across hardwood floors or incising them in PVC floor coverings.
What the artist is most interested in, aside from the haptic and material qualities of the dice and the gesture of throwing dice in a game, are the various mathematical principles that govern the act of dicing, its significance for modern information and computer technology, chance and risk. The image of cosmic cubic formations in outer space, acoustically accompanied by the rumblings of massive icebergs, keeps recurring to her constantly searching mind.
VALIE EXPORT happily accepted the invitation extend by the EVN Art Council to participate in the wallpaper project of the evn collection as it provided her with an occasion to further explore the phenomenology of the die. In dialogue with the given local setting, EXPORT presents her wallpaper as a spatial and acoustic continuum running through the architectural layout of the stairwell.
Using digital photo montages and a dice sculpture salvaged from the depths of her studio—a prototype for Dual Duels (1989/90)—the artist introduces the subject on the seventh floor of the EVN headquarter. Her visual offering consists of technologically conceived, computer-generated wallpapers showing a random pattern of dice of different sizes. On all floors, this is accompanied by the sound of dice rolling on a game board, a Las Vegas-style audio background. What the work requires from viewers is walking through, movement, the experience of passage. Apart from its visual, acoustic, and aesthetic component, the spatial installation, like all works by EXPORT, also has political potential: are games of dice antagonistic to the vita activa if they, as they do here, collide with busy life. Or do they rather stand for action itself which is the basis of any political community, creating the very conditions of memory and history?
Brigitte Huck, 2019 (translation: Michael Strand)Continue reading
Wallpaper #2, evn sammlung, Maria Enzersdorf, 2019