Birgit Jürgenssen Ich möchte hier raus! / I want out of here! 1976 B&W photograph © Estate of Birgit Jürgenssen / VBK, Vienna, 2009 / Sammlung Verbund, Vienna
Since its inception in 2004 the Sammlung Verbund focuses on the feminist art movement of the 1970s as one of the main areas of collecting. In keeping with its maxim, "Depth before Breadth", the fruits of this particular focus are now for the first time presented in Italy. The Galleria nazionale d'arte moderna in Rome shows an exhibition entitled DONNA: FEMINIST AVANT-GARDE OF THE 1970s from Sammlung Verbund, Vienna.
The director of the collection, Gabriele Schor, has taken the initiative and deliberately designated the feminist art movement of the 1970s as Feminist Avant-Garde, in order to emphasise its trailblazing role, as it is, like no other art movement in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, a decisive force in shaping contemporary art production. The Feminist Avant-Garde is still an open field and many artists and their works are yet to be discovered. Besides works of Ketty La Rocca, Hannah Wilke, Eleanor Antin, VALIE EXPORT, Ana Mendieta, Martha Rosler and Francesca Woodman, the scarcely known early photographs of Cindy Sherman are still to be unearthed. Furthermore, the works by Birgit Jürgenssen, Renate Bertlmann, Annegret Soltau and Nil Yalter are to be seen in Italy for the first time. Thus, in showing a number of relatively unkown positions and groups of works, DONNA: FEMINIST AVANT-GARDE OF THE 1970s claims to redefine and expand the coordinates of the feminist art movement.
Art history clearly shows: the image of woman is a man's image of woman. This iconography, handed down for centuries, has been radically deconstructed by the Feminist Avant-Garde in the 1970s for the first time. In their work these 17 artists create a new image of women. These works often discuss their own body as well as themselves in their object-subject relations and fathoms the prospect of self-determined feminine identities.
The exhibition provides a glimpse of the multi-layered works of artists, who deal with constructions of identity in a provocative, poetic and ironic way. In accordance with its equally strong commitment to academic publications, the Sammlung Verbund has published a comprehensive monograph of Birgit Jürgenssen's work in 2009, and is currently working on the Catalogue Raisonné of Cindy Sherman's early works in close cooperation with the artist.
Helena Almeida, Eleanor Antin, Renate Bertlmann, VALIE EXPORT, Birgit Jürgenssen, Suzy Lake, Ana Mendieta, Ketty La Rocca, Leslie Labowitz, Suzanne Lacy, Martha Rosler, Cindy Sherman, Annegret Soltau, Martha Wilson, Hannah Wilke, Francesca Woodman, Nil Yalter.