On September 28, 2013, Counterpath hosted an opening for an exhibition of rare and recently discovered photographs of the 1973 “Causaglia” performance by VALIE EXPORT. The photographs were taken by Michael Merighi and assembled in an artist book that was on display for the first time. At the opening, three writers and performance artists, Bhanu Kapil, Mónica de la Torre, and Christine Wertheim, performed pieces created for this event and in response to EXPORT and Merighi’s photos. The photographs were on display through October 27, 2013. The exhibit was curated by Patrick Greaney, with support from Linz Kultur.
VALIE EXPORT is a key figure in post-1945 art. Since 1967, she has created a diverse corpus of work, including films, videos performances, drawing, photographs, and installations. Along with Maria Lassnig, she represented Austria at the 1980 Venice Biennale, and she has participated in two Documenta exhibitions (in 1977 and 2007) in Kassel, Germany. Her works are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Tate Gallery, and the Reina Sofia. She was born in Linz, Austria in 1940, and she currently lives and works in Vienna.
Introduction by Patrick Greaney
Michael Merighi is a photographer based in Linz, Austria.
Bhanu Kapil (video above) lives in Colorado where she teaches writing and thinking at Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, as well as Goddard College’s low-residency MFA. She has written three full-length works of poetry/prose: The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers (Kelsey Street Press), Incubation: a space for monsters (Leon Works), and humanimal [a project for future children] (Kelsey Street Press).
Mónica de la Torre’s poetry collections include Public Domain (2008), Talk Shows (2007), and Acúfenos (2006). With artist Terence Gower, she co-authored the art book Appendices, Illustrations and Notes (1999). De la Torre co-edited, with Michael Wiegers, the bilingual anthology Reversible Monuments: Contemporary Mexican Poetry (2002). Her translations from Spanish include Lila Zemborain’s Mauve Sea-Orchids (2007, co-translated with Rosa Alcalá) and Poems by Gerardo Deniz (2000), which she also edited. De la Torre’s honors include a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship. She has edited BOMB Magazine and the Brooklyn Rail. She lives in Brooklyn.
Christine Wertheim is a poet, critic, performer and curator, who teaches at the California Institute of the Arts. Her books include +|‘me’S-pace (Les Figues Press), Corpus, a chapbook from Triage, and the edited anthology Feminaissance (Les Figues Press). Her poetry has been anthologized in numerous collections including Against Expression, and I’ll Drown My Book. She lectures and performs internationally, most recently at the Sorbonne, Birkbeck College, London, Melbourne University, and The Echo Park Film Center, LA. Her new book mUtter-bAbel, is forthcoming from Counterpath.
“[In ‘Causalgia’] the silhouette of a man is burned into a large wax plate with a gas flame. Export lies naked in the outline of this silhouette, her body warmth slowly changing the wax bed and her body image forming in the cooling wax. Slowly she separates herself from its rigidity and moves toward the edge, which is however lined with barbed wire… She separates herself from the waxen model…the remaining traces are filled with molten lead…. A likeness remains, the traces are covered up.” —Newsweda, 1991
In her performance “Causalgia,” VALIE EXPORT shows how the body can be the site of oppressive inscription and containment, but also the starting point for experiencing liberation. EXPORT performed “Causalgia” in Linz, Austria in 1973, and was documented by the 19-year-old Linz photographer Michael Merighi, who discovered his negatives in 2012.