Radical Austria | Everything is Architecture

Body and Sexuality

20 July 2021

This text by Bart Lootsma was originally published in the accompanying catalog of the exhibition. You can find the full catalog here.

In the 1960s, the body became the starting point for a radical rethinking of architecture, design, fashion and art. The boundaries between those disciplines increasingly disappeared.

Exploring and breaking social norms around sexuality and identity is central to much of the work from this period. This research often uses new technological developments in the field of both material and media (such as glasses and helmets).

VALIE EXPORT, TAPP und TASTKINO, 1968. Courtesy Generali Foundation Collection – permanent loan to Museum der Moderne Salzburg. Photo: Ben Nienhuis, Design Museum Den Bosch.

However, the architects of this period, being mostly male, often get stuck in their own sexual fantasies. Not until VALIE EXPORT, now celebrated as one of the most important feminist artists, does this change. Some of her earliest projects can be seen as a direct criticism of the work of her male colleagues.

Werner Schulz, photo of VALIE EXPORTs performance TAPP und TASTKINO, 1968. C/o Pictoright Amsterdam 2021.