As she likes it
Female Performance Art from Austria
In the 1960s and 1970s actionism and happenings provided a foundation for performance art, the exceptional form in which women are as numerous but more recognized as men. Three generations of artists set out in As She Likes It to formulate a statement on our times, using the expressive power of voice and body, dispensing with exclusion of the male world more self-confidently than in the early years. (Brigitta Burger-Utzer)
Maria Lassnig: Born 1919 in Carinthia, Austria. Graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna (1943). Since 1950 international exhibitions and awards. Together with Arnulf Rainer and Oswald Oberhuber founded informal painting in Austria; founder of the art of body painting. Lived abroad in Paris (1961-68) and New York (1968-80). Since 1970 has made films, she created autodidacticly according to her own drawings on a self-invented work desk (not an animation desk). 1980-90 professor of the master class for Experimental Design at the College of Applied Arts in Vienna; represented Austria at the Biennale in Venice (tog. with VALIE EXPORT); invited for documenta 7, Kassel. 1982 founded the only Austrian teaching studio for animated film. Member of the Woman Artist Filmmakers Group New York (1972-80). Österreichischer Staatspreis (Austrian State Award) for painting (1988). Member of the Austria Filmmakers Cooperative. 1992 Premier of Maria Lassnig Kantate in Berlin, International Film Festival, Competition. Films (Selection): Baroque Statues, 1970; Iris, 1971; Chairs, 1971; Couples, 1972; Palmistry, 1973; Art Education, 1976.
Miriam Bajtala: Born 1970 in Bratislava, Slovak Republic. Studied Art History at the University of Vienna; course in Electro-acoustics and experimental music at the University of Music, Vienna; 1998-2002 Studies at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna (Prof. Eva Schlegel). Schindler Stipend, Los Angeles, 2004; Studio Stipend, Rome, 2004. Various exhibitions (Selection): Galerie im Traklhaus, Salzburg, 2005; Künstlerhaus Palais Thurn und Taxis, Bregenz, 2005. Videos (Selection): Anleitung No. 3 (Person M.), 2000; aus dem Off, 2002; Paranoia (Death Valley), 2004; Paranoia (Mackey House), 2004; Videogymnastik (Warm Ups 1-4), 2004/05.
Carola Dertnig: Born in Innsbruck. Lives and works in Vienna and New York. 1986-91 studied at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna. 1997-98 Whitney Independent Study Program, New York. Participation in various single and group-shows. Solo exhibitions (Selection): Galerie im Taxispalais, Innsbruck, 2006; Galerie Andreas Huber, Vienna, 2005; Secession, Vienna, 2004; Strangers – Handlungsräume 6, Salzburger Kunstverein, 2003;
Flyby-Productions, Special Project Space, P.S.1 Center for Contemporary Art, Long Island (with Pia Moos,
Lori Reinauer and the children of P.S.1), 2000; Dancing with Remote – Part 1, Project Room, Artists Space, New York, 1997; Hausfrauen, Galerie im Andechshof, Innsbruck, 1993. Curatorial projects: “Mothers of Invention”, Mumok, Vienna (with Stefanie Seibold), 2003; “Let’s Twist Again”, Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna (with Stefanie Seibold), 2002. Videos (Selection): I dont wanna know your name, 1995/96; Dancing with Remote(s), 1997; Loveage, 1999; Revolving Door, 2001; a room with a view in the financial district, 2003; Newspaper Only
(with Ulrike Müller), 2003.
Kerstin Cmelka: Born 1974 in Mödling, Austria. 1999-2005 Studies at Hochschule für Bildende Künste – Städel-schule, Frankfurt am Main with Monika Schwitte, Thomas Bayrle and Simon Starling. 2005 master student of liberal visual arts under Simon Starling. 2005-06 studio scholarship “dynamo.eintracht” in Dresden. Lives in Berlin and Dresden. Films (Selection): Kerstin/Johannes, 1998; Neurodermitis, 1998; Mit mir, 2000; In einem Raum, 2000; Et In Arcadia Ego, 2000; camera, 2002; Hallowe’en, 2003. Since 2000 invitation to numerous film festivals (Selection): Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen; Viper, Basel; L’ Alternativa, Barcelona;
Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival; Ann Arbor, Michigan; New York Underground Film Festival; Int. Film Festival Rotterdam; Tampere Film Festival, Finnland; Diagonale, Graz; Regus Film Festival, London; Cinematexas International Short Film Festival, Austin. “Subversives Kino – Ich und die Anderen: Kerstin Cmelka –
Eija-Liisa Ahtila”, Mal Sehn Kino, Frankfurt am Main, 2003. Solo exhibitions: rraum, Frankfurt am Main, 2006; “Non-Identical Twins”, Kunstraum NÖ, Vienna, 2006; Garage 30, Frankfurt am Main, 2005; “o.T. (Export)”, the hell, Frankfurt am Main, 2004; “suspense”, Kunsthalle 8, Vienna, 2004; Schnittausstellungsraum, Cologne, 2003.
Barbara Musil: Born in Salzburg in 1972. 1992-98 studied medicine in Graz. 1999 graduated with a degree in General Medicine. 1998 took a master class in Experimental Design at the Linz University of Art and Design. 2004 Honorary Mention Prix Ars Electronica, Interactive Art (“alert”). 2005 Residency in Vilnius, Litauen.
2006 Residency in Tallinn, Estland (Pépinières européennes grant). Lives and works in Linz and Vienna. Exhibitons 1996-2004 (Selection): MediaLab Tallinn, Estonia; “I was born to make you happy”, Semperdepot, Vienna; “Arrete”, SW-NÖ 04, Kunstraum NÖ, Vienna; PlanB Gallery, Cluj, Romania; “shift expectations”, Galerie der Stadt Wels; Festival der Regionen, OÖ; “nah & frisch”, Galerie 5020, Salzburg; Centro per l’ Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato. Festivals 1996-2005: Diagonale, Graz; Crossing Europe, Linz (Honorary Mention for SW-NÖ 04); Tricky Women, Vienna; Courtisane festival, Ghent, BE; Filmfest Emden, D; Short Film Festival at the Kaiserstrasse, Vienna (1. prize from the jury for SW-NÖ 04). Videos (Selection): MAJA, 1999;
LA MANCHA (with Karolina Szmit), 2001; FREIE RADIKALE (with Karolina Szmit), 2002; BRAVO!, 2004;
Heal the world, 2005; Lietuvos bankas, 2006.
Karolina Szmit: Born 1978 in Warsaw. Since 1998 has studied at the University of Art in Linz, Austria at the Experimental Design Class. Main focus on drawing, animated filmmaking, Vjing. 2005: scholarship for artistic support from the town Linz. Exhibitions 2003–06 (Selection): “nah & frisch”, Galerie 5020, Salzburg; “Schöne Aussichten”, Reinsberg, Vienna; “Arrete”, Kunstraum NÖ, Vienna; “Opera Austria”, Centro per l’Arte
Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato; “Die Welt ist nicht genug”, concert by the pop band SHY, Visuals; Landes-theater Linz. Festivals 2001-06: Diagonale, Graz; Crossing Europe, Linz (Honorary Mention for SW-NÖ 04); Tricky Women, Vienna; 21th Int. Short Film Festival, Hamburg; Courtisane festival, Ghent, BE; Short Film
Festival at the Kaiserstrasse, Vienna (1. prize from the jury for SW-NÖ 04). Videos (Selection): misc.;Chestnuts; FREIE RADIKALE (with Barbara Musil); -try different keywords; SW-NÖ 04 (with Barbara Musil); file is either.
Ulrike Müller: Is an artist currently living and working in New York. Graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts (1996) and the “Freie Klasse” (1999) in Vienna; Participant in the Whitney Independent Study Program, New York in 2002/03. Since 2005 she has been an editor for the queer feminist art journal LTTR (www.lttr.org).
Exhibitions, performances and video screenings include Diagonale, Graz, 2005; LTTR Explosion (with Marie Thérèse Escribano), New York, 2004; “Mothers of Invention”, Mumok, Vienna, 2003. The artist’s book
“Every little bit helps, – Ulrike Müller: Two Audio Works”, 2005 (with essays by Gregg Bordowitz, Barbara Schröder, Lanka Tattersall, and Walter Johnston) is distributed by Revolver (www.revolver-books.de). Videos:
LOVE / TORTURE, 2005; Mock Rock, 2004; Newspaper Only (with Carola Dertnig), 2003; Lillian & Alice, 2002; Unsere Leistungsbilanz (with A. Kowalska, M. Muhr), 2001.
Fiona Rukschcio: Born 1972 in Vienna. Studies: Political Science and a combination of Sociology, Media
Studies and Women Studies, University of Vienna. 1993: Media Studies, University Ulster, Coleraine; Visual Communication, Art College, Belfast. 1997: Photography, Academy of fine Arts, Vienna. Exhibitions, projects, screenings. Awards and grants (Selection): Award Innovative Cinema 2000 at Diagonale, Graz; Grant for Rome (photography) – Federal Chancellery, Arts division; Theodor Körner Promotion Award, 2004;
Promotion Award – Cultural Department of the City of Vienna. Videos (Selection): schminki 1, 2 + 3, 1998;
#1: , 1999; #2: , 1999; #3: , 1999; Bill Posters will be prosecuted, 2002; Simultaneous Disco, visual and installation, Vienna 2001;
Relaxationesoteric for artists, 2002; Wallpainting Installation, 2003; Le Panthéon, 2003; SchatziMausi,
interactive videoinstallation, 2003/04; Auf Wiedersehen/ Good-bye!, 2004; I would be delighted to talk Suffrage, 2004/05; Elle fait des romans, 2005.
Mara Mattuschka: Born 1959 in Sofia. Golden Circle for Higher Mathematics. Studied ethnology and linguistics in Vienna. 1990: Magister Artis at the University of Applied Arts for Painting and Trickfilm by Prof. Maria Lassnig.
1990: Birth of her son Max Viktor. 1994-2001 Professor for Free Art at HBK Braunschweig. 2001: Birth of her son Leo August. Turbokoloratur. One-Woman-Shows. Numerous Films. Known also as Mimi Minus, Madame Ping Pong, Mahatma Gobi, Ramses Pu Tai II. Lives in Vienna. Films/videos (Selection): NabelFabel, 1984;
Der Untergang der Titania, 1985; Cerolax II, 1985; Parasympathica, 1985; Kugelkopf, 1985; Pascal – Gödel, 1986; Les Miserables, 1987; Es hat mich sehr gefreut, 1987; Kaiser Schnitt, 1987; Der Einzug des Rokoko ins Inselreich der Huzzis, 1989; Loading Ludwig, 1989; Der Schöne, die Biest, 1993; S.O.S. Extraterrestria, 1993; Suvlaki ist Babylon: komm, iss mit mir, 1994; ID, 2003; Plasma, 2004; Legal Errorist, 2005; Comeback, 2005.
Chris Haring: Lives and works as a free choreographer and dancer in Vienna. Together with composer
Klaus Obermeier he developed the Videodanceperformances D.A.V.E. and VIVISECTOR played all over Europe, USA, Asia and Australia. Fremdkörper (2003) deals with science fiction and the human body as a cybernetic landscape.
Michaela Pöschl: Artist, art historian, curator. Works in media such as video, installation and text on Body Art, (filmic representations of) Interventionist Practices and normative concepts of violence. “Abuse, Pictures”, exhibition, IG Bildende Kunst and Topkino, 2006; “Sprengt den Opfer-Täter-Komplex!”, videoinstallation,
Ega Lounge, 2005; “Pictures of Victims and Dogshit. On representations of violence against women in public space Vienna”, text in: Kulturrisse 1/05; “beyond the limitations of the rectangular frame”, text in: Bildräume
und Raumbilder. Repräsentationskritik in Aktivismus und Film, Turia und Kant, 2004; “The personal is political, und peinlich”, exhibition, Kunsthalle Exnergasse, 2003; “1920-1991”, soundinstallation, Stuttgarter Filmwinter, femme:os, 2002; I am a piece of shit, video, 2001; The Sleep of Reason, video, 1999. Teaches at the HBK Braunschweig and the University of Applied Arts Vienna. The Sleep of Reason was shown at Kunsthalle
Exnergasse, Kunsthalle Wien, M.E.L. Art Galerie, U.B.R. Galerie Salzburg, Galerie Hummel, Volksbühne Berlin, CalState Fine Arts Gallery, Cinémathèque de Toulouse, Filmcasino, Niederösterreichisches Landesmuseum, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Théâtre de Strasbourg, Diagonale, Stuttgarter Filmwinter (Programm “Kurt Kren und Michaela Pöschl: Body Unlimited”), Kasseler Videofestival, Fetish Filmfest Paris, Palermo International Videoart & Media Festival, Festival International du Court Métrage Clermont-Ferrand a.o.
More Informations about the Artists at: www.filmvideo.at
The subtitle puts it best: As She Likes It offers up 72 minutes worth of Austrian female performance art. The disc spans twelve years – from 1992 to 2004 – and is best viewed as a sampler. There’s a terrific range to the pieces found here, a number of differences and similarities, and as such they aren’t going to satisfy everyone. Indeed, such compilations rarely do, but then a handful of titles, at least, should perk the interest and lead viewers onto other things: the huge body of work of Maria Lassnig, for example; or the emerging output of a newer talent such as Ulrike Müller. In fact such a future discovery is almost essential given that the filmmakers featured don’t specialise in one-offs but entire oeuvres – the two-minutes devoted here to Miriam Bajtala, say, could hardly be described as summing up her efforts to date as an artist.
As such As She Likes It forces us to make connections solely through the works present. And, interestingly, a number of them exist. There’s the predominant sense of humour, for example, which links Maria Lassnig Kantata (a cheeky, infectious musical piece of autobiography) and SW-NO 04 (an immersion into picture postcard representations of Austria), whilst both also share a fondness for crude, but colourful animation. Meanwhile, the Lassnig piece is also incredibly personal and as such fits in with the diary-like contributions from Kerstin Cmelka (Neurodermitis), Fiona Rukschcio (Shminki 1, 2+3) and Michaela Pöschl (the particularly brutal and unnerving Der Schlaf der Vernunft). And yet this personal dimension never achieves fruition in the same way twice: the intense, driven cinematic stare of the Pöschl is miles apart from the more tender, slightly voyeuristic approach of Cmelka.
Furthermore, such individualism (and oftentimes these films are the work of a single auteur) means that we’re not always guaranteed of a unanimous connection with these filmmakers and their respective intents. The “slapstick symbolism” of Strangers and Byketrouble, both by Carole Dertnig, left me particularly cold, whilst Legal Errorist’s oblique choreography was similarly not to my taste. However, Im Leo, Bajtala’s contribution, felt particularly alive in its straight-ahead simplicity and cheeky nod to Robakowski’s Nearer-Further (which has also earned a recent release from Index). Likewise, the curious tone of Mock Rock was similarly invigorating in its sheer idiosyncrasy and its plain, immediate visual nature. Most pertinent, however, were the starker, aforementioned efforts Neurodermitis and Der Schlaf der Vernunft - cutting through any overt conceptual/visual concerns, their sheer confrontation stances make for pure, visceral cinema.
As She Likes It, another of Index’s autumn releases, comes as a Region 0 single-layer disc. Original aspect ratios are adhered to, whether 1.33:1 or 1.66:1, though note that the latter are presented non-anamorphically. In each and every case they come across especially well, taking into consideration their various origins of course. The video pieces look just as you’d expect, whilst any grain or any other such “defects” would appear to be wholly intentional. Furthermore, any technical flaws are kept to absolute minimum – other than the non-anamorphic nature of 1.66:1 titles (though this is by no means a major concern) there are few complaints to make. Indeed, only the burnt-in subtitles on selected titles may strike some as an oversight, especially as Index, for the most part, have previously offered optional English subs, where applicable, on their previous releases. As for soundtracks, each film comes with a DD2.0 accompaniment and again to little complaint. Sounds, dialogue and background noise all come across well and certainly never feel compromised.
Special features come in the form of a number of attendant shorts to accompany certain titles. In some cases this means brief ‘making of’ feaurettes, in others alternative versions which serve as companions, and in others still discussions of their intent. All told, there’s nothing truly essential here, but they do make for interesting additions and their presence is certainly welcomed. As we should also expect from Index, a bilingual booklet is also present, one which assembles notes on each of the filmmakers and their particular efforts contained herein.
Review by Anthony Nield, published 2006 on thedigitalfix.com