C/O Berlin presents VALIE EXPORT, Laia Abril and Aladin Borioli

C/O Berlin presents VALIE EXPORT . RetrospectiveLaia Abril . On Rape – And Institutional Failure and Aladin Borioli . Bannkörbe . C/O Berlin Talent Award 2023 from Jan 27 until May 21, 2024.

C/O Berlin, Amerika Haus in der Hardenberg-straße 22–24, 10623 Berlin.

 BODY SIGN B, 1970, The ALBERTINA Museum, Vienna – The ESSL Collection © VALIE EXPORT, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023; Photo: Gertraud Wolfschwenger © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023


VALIE EXPORT - Retrospective

This exhibition recognizes the complex oeuvre of VALIE EXPORT (b. 1940), one of the twentieth century’s most influential media and performance artists in the world, who intrepidly challenged social norms and role models with her media-reflective practice and critical feminist perspective.

Presenting works created between 1966 and 2009, the exhibition provides a comprehensive overview of VALIE EXPORT’s career. A filmmaker, performance artist, and media artist who is now celebrated as an icon of feminist art, EXPORT caused a sensation with her actions in public space in the late 1960s. The retro- spective covers a wide range of works from her provocative “expanded cinema” actions, symbolic performances, and analytical conceptual photography to multimedia installations and urban interventions. The works reflect the multifaced development of an artist whose works are still topical and serve as important points of reference for sociopolitical investigations today.

The exhibition presents many of EXPORT’s pioneering works, including TAPP und TASTKINO (Touch Cinema, 1968), one of the early “expanded cinema” actions in which the artist strapped a box to her naked chest as a “movie theater” and invited passersby to touch her breasts for a precise length of time, challenging notions of the voyeuristic gaze on the female body. The legendary action Aus der Mappe

der Hundigkeit (From the Portfolio of Doggedness, 1968) is also shown, in which EXPORT walked through the center of Vienna with Peter Weibel, her partner at the time, on a leash like a dog to challenge traditional gender issues and analyze human behavior by means of animal comparisons.

VALIE EXPORT’s multidisciplinary oeuvre eludes attributions and classifications, transcending the limitations of media and genres. In addition to her own body, her work involves photography, drawings, videos, and installations. One focus of the exhibition is the relevance of photography in the artist’s work. Photography occupies a central position, regardless of whether it is treated as a means of documentation, as an experiment, or as an independent work. EXPORT explicitly expresses her analysis of mass media and processes of illustration as feminist criticism to examine the role of women, their social marginalization, and the representation of the female body in a patriarchal society.


After-Fitting, 1974, Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac © VALIE EXPORT, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023; Photo: Eric Timmer- mann

VALIE EXPORT . Retrospective, installation view at C/O Berlin, 2024 © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2024; Photo: C/O Berlin Foundation, David von Becker

VALIE EXPORT . Retrospective, installation view at C/O Berlin, 2024 © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2024; Photo: C/O Berlin Foundation, David von Becker

VALIE EXPORT . Retrospective, installation view at C/O Berlin, 2024 © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2024; Photo: C/O Berlin Foundation, David von Becker

VALIE EXPORT . Retrospective, installation view at C/O Berlin, 2024 © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2024; Photo: C/O Berlin Foundation, David von Becker
DIVIDE AND CONQUER! after: Martin Schongauer, “The Holy Family“ 1475–1480, 1976, Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac © VALIE EXPORT, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023
TOUCH CINEMA, 1968, The ALBERTINA Museum, Vienna – The ESSL Collection © VALIE EXPORT, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023; Photo: Werner Schulz

Laia Abril . On Rape – And Institutional Failure

Catalan artist Laia Abril (b. 1986) presents her broad-ranging, research-based work On Rape – And Institutional Failure, which uses an assemblage of found and original photographs, reports, quotations, videos, and artifacts to explore the structures that make rape possible. Working across temporal periods, cultural practices, and media, Abril reveals the normalization of misogynist attitudes and behaviors in society and politics but does not resort to explicit depictions of sexualized violence.

A 2018 case of rape in Spain occasioned Abril’s investigation. Occurring at the height of the #MeToo movement, the incident set off country-wide protests. Five men brutally raped a young woman and were later released on bail. When they were ultimately charged, it was not for rape, but merely for sexual harassment, which carries a lighter sentence. Against the backdrop of protests against a flawed system hostile to women, Abril explores why institutional failures on this scale occur, and how traditional assumptions, cultural influences, myths, and laws serve to shield perpetrators by reinforcing power dynamics and dependent relationships.

On Rape – And Institutional Failure is the second chapter in the artist’s long-term project A History of Misogyny, in which she responds to manifold forms of systemic violence against women. Abril succeeds in allowing a deep empathy for victims
of sexualized violence while inviting viewers to consider the complex relationship between experience, image, and language, as well as the limits of depicting trauma. The artist uses a moving political narrative to counter the feeling of silencing often experienced around the subject while simultaneously appealing to society’s sense of responsibility.

Abril’s research-based practice makes her one of the most important next-genera- tion artists working with archives, written testimonies, and original photographs today. She uses multilayered narratives to make visible complex and suppressed taboo themes today. C/O Berlin presents the artist’s first institutional solo exhibition in Germany.


Ala Kachuu (Bride Kidnapping), Kyrgyzstan, 2020 © Laia Abril, Courtesy Les Filles du Calvaire, Paris
Chastity Belt, 2019 © Laia Abril, Courtesy Les Filles du Calvaire, Paris


ALADIN BORIOLI . Bannkörbe . C/O Berlin Talent Award 2023

At first glance, one can make out a bizarre face carved in wood. But there is far more hidden behind the narrow opening depicting a mouth: it is the entrance to the fascinating world of bees. What we see is one of only a few extant Bannkörbe – beehives made from organic materials including wood, straw, and cow manure. This unique form of beehive and craftsmanship was prevalent in northern Germany between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. These hives, each one of a kind, are characterized by their grotesque masks, which were intended to ward off the “evil eye” and honey thieves. Within the field of bee research, they reflect the belief in magic and thus provide an alternative model to the dominant concepts of “modern” beekeeping, which often seeks to use modern technology to achieve productivity, profitability, and control over bees.

In his extended research project Bannkörbe, Aladin Borioli (b. 1988, Switzerland) works with bee researchers, scientists, collectors, and apiarists, using artistic research to explore the sociohistorical, political, and ecological relationship between humans and all species of bees. This is one of many subprojects of Apian, a collaborative entity Borioli initiated, intended as an ever-expanding and ongoing archive that operates as a “ministry of bees”. The multimedia project Bannkörbe will be presented in an exhibition space for the first time at C/O Berlin.

The multipart exhibition is divided across a number of stations that shed light on the concept of the beehive, ancient beliefs about bees, and fascinating techno- logical possibilities to implement alternative beekeeping methods. The exhibition comprises artworks by Borioli, a catalogue of photographs featuring previously unpublished images of Bannkörbe, and a corpus of archival and research material from bee studies and cultural history can be explored. A video installation in a separate room lets visitors experience a “modern” beehive firsthand from the inside, and an interactive research area invites them to delve deeper into the topics.

Bannkorb, 2023. Provenance: Institut für Bienenkunde Celle, Germany © Aladin Borioli, Françoise Borioli (Apian)
A beekeeper’s veil. Réaumur, „Geschichte der Bienen“, Frankfurt/Leipzig: Göbhards seel Erben, 1759


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