A harmless gaze opens the video Minnie by Maria Petschnig.
The fact that it belongs to Minnie, the Mouse, becomes clear as soon as the performer positions herself properly. From then onwards does the beholder gaze back at Minnie Mouse from/on the T-shirt and the torso/upper body/chest of the artist.
Initially, Petschnig, who performs in all of her works, takes up the flirtatious-coy pose of Minnie: With hands entangled behind the back she protrudes her chest to the viewer, which in the first few frames creates new and different shapes through various textile objects under the T-shirt: the breasts grow monstrously, the spine moves to the front, the bottom deforms in a voluptuous corset. The new shapes are presented in front of the camera through an impressingly lightness/ effortlessness: the performer flattens her T-shirt, strokes the "objects" with her hands and by moving sexily she accentuates/emphasizes her erotic potential.
In the experimental use with her own body the artist goes even further: Throughout the performance, while she avails herself of the outfits and objects to burst the dimensions/measures/shapes, she takes the presentation of her nude body into her own hands. The fetishlike garments/items refer visually to Minnie´s cute little ears, her red dress, the yellow shoes: like a Striptease dancer she shows more and more skin, which she redifines into artistic material, similiar to the artificial pieces of garments. At the same time the combination of the stripteaselike poses with the alienated element/piece of the comicworld opens up a space inbetween. One that doesn´t allow to pin down a clear statement about femininity, sexuality and body and by doing so it disrobes the usual/standard/common ambiugity of the hedonistic/passionate art of undressing.
(...) In this early video, Petschnig explores and subverts the performance of feminine sensuality. As a “striptease” unfolds, edited together from short, nonchronological fragments of the artist performing for the camera, the work destabilizes stereotypical notions of desirability.