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Using the VALIE EXPORT Archive as a basis, the City of Linz and its partner institute, the University of Arts and Industrial Design Linz, have agreed to operate an international research centre, the VALIE EXPORT Center. Forschungszentrum für Medien- und Performancekunst. The VALIE EXPORT Center will be Linz’s second research centre devoted explicitly to the work of an outstanding artist associated with the city, following the Adalbert Stifter Institute, which is operated by the province of Upper Austria.

The research centre aims to create a professional environment of the kind required for the scholarly analysis and appraisal of the VALIE EXPORT Archive, the publication of its contents and its public accessibility. These objectives are designed to make sure that VALIE EXPORT’s living bequest of her archive will be preserved for future generations and serve as a focus for academic research. Concentrating on VALIE EXPORT’s oeuvre, the VALIE EXPORT Center will be a reference point and a globally accessible source of inspiration for the arts, for scholarly analysis and for art education in the fields of media and performance art. It will serve as a basis for research work by third parties, which the Center will facilitate and support.

For these objectives to be achieved detailed attention must be given to the creation of a data bank, the long-term storage of all materials in the VALIE EXPORT Archive, public accessibility (online and physical) for research and study purposes, academic publishing activities and the regular staging of events.

The VALIE EXPORT Center entered its construction phase on 1 June 2015. In this phase, top priority must be given to stock taking and the drawing up of an inventory, the transfer of the archive from Vienna to Linz, the adaptation of the prospective venue and the setting up of the organisational infrastructure needed for the Center to become fully operational. The VALIE EXPORT Center is expected to open in 2017. Its prospective venue is the former cigarette factory, Austria Tabakwerke, in Linz. A comprehensive refurbishment of Building No. 1 has already been given the green light. Located in the southern part of the Tabakwerke complex, the building used to house cigarette production. A 320 m² section of the building has been exclusively earmarked for the VALIE EXPORT Center and will be adapted to its needs.

Current planning for the VALIE EXPORT Center provides for the City of Linz to pay the costs of the infrastructure, while the University of Arts pays for research. The City of Linz and/or the LENTOS Kunstmuseum’s main responsibility will be to provide the required spatial resources and all the materials in the VALIE EXPORT Archive, while the University of Arts will defray all expenses arising from providing the required academic and administrative staff.

The VALIE EXPORT Archive finds a home in Linz

Linz has acquired the VALIE EXPORT Archive on the basis of a decision passed by a large majority in Linz’s City Council on 23 April 2015. The living bequest comprises works of art, sketches, drafts, negatives and extensive archival material related to the work of the Linz born artist. The Archive will become part of the holdings of the LENTOS Kunstmuseum and constitutes the most substantial addition since the acquisition of the Gurlitt Collection in the 1950s. This is the first step the City of Linz has taken towards the operation of the VALIE EXPORT Center, an international research institution for media and performance art.


Thursday, 9 November 2017, 7 pm, LENTOS
For the opening of the VALIE EXPORT Center, LENTOS will show the exhibition VALIE EXPORT. The Archive as a Place of Artistic Research.

Friday, 10 November 2017, 11 am, Tabakfabrik
The international research center for media and performance art in the Tabakfabrik will open with an official ceremony and a symposium about Wild Archives. Art and its Paper Trail.

Space and Construction Design

The VALIE EXPORT Center Linz will be housed on approx. 300 m² on the 1st floor of the Bau 1 in the Tabakfabrik Linz. The space will be divided into:

• Archive and storage facilities
• Library
• Multifunctional working and event area

The concept for the space, which is designed to be open and multifunctional, was developed by the architects of kleboth dollnig linding, who are situated in the Tabakfabrik Linz themselves and were responsible for the Bau 2 in the Tabakfabrik, as well as for the spaces for “Fashion & Technology” for the Art University Linz in Bau 1. The working and event area can be opened entirely to the “Behrensband”, a walkway that connects the entire 1st floor of the Tabakfabrik. This means that, especially for certain events, the available space can be extended so that Peter Behren’s design can be experienced in its entirety. Behren’s architectural characteristics are incorporated into the design of the VALIE EXPORT Center Linz.

VALIE EXPORT’s significance for Linz

For several decades VALIE EXPORT has held a place in the first rank of Austria’s internationally renowned artists. In its 2013 “Art barometer”, the magazine GEWINN ranked VALIE EXPORT third in its list of the 50 commercially most successful living Austrian artists, behind only Maria Lassnig and Arnulf Rainer.

VALIE EXPORT was born, grew up and attended school in Linz. Her career took off in the late 1960s, when she launched a series of performances in public space that generated extraordinary publicity. Firmly anchored in performance and media art, these performances were marked by a powerful feminist perspective. Her participation in documenta 6 in Kassel (1977) and the Venice Biennale (1980) won official recognition for her work in Austria and it has never been outside the canon of contemporary artistic practice since.

Chairs at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1989–1992), the Hochschule der Künste Berlin (1991–1995) and the Kunsthochschule für Medien Cologne (1995–2005) gave her a significant role in the arts-centred field of academia.

The award of an honorary doctorate by the University of Arts and Industrial Design Linz in 2009 – the first honorary doctorate to be awarded by that university – and the retrospective Zeit und Gegenzeit at the LENTOS Kunstmuseum, put on in collaboration with the Belvedere Wien in autumn 2010, testified to the recognition and appreciation of her oeuvre in her home town. In 2010 she was was awarded the Austrian Republic’s Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold for Services to the Republic of Austria (Großes Goldenes Ehrenzeichen für Verdienste um die Republik Österreich), which was followed by the City of Linz’s own Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold (Großes Goldenes Ehrenzeichen der Stadt Linz) in 2015.

Contents of the VALIE EXPORT Archive

The VALIE EXPORT Archive comprises works of art, documents and drafts of works from all the different phases of the artist’s career. Materials include, among other things, project sketches, conceptual outlines, an extensive photo, film and video archive, correspondence, publicity material (posters, folders, etc.), press cuttings (reviews, press reports, etc.), a book collection and originals from a number of different work groups.

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Foto: © maschekS.