Identity Transfer 1-3
Frame (Each (black wood)): 41 x 29 3/4 x 1 1/2 in. (104.14 x 75.57 x 3.81 cm)
Image (Each): 31 1/2 x 21 in. (80.01 x 53.34 cm)
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Purchase with funds provided by the Photography Committee
In Identity Transfer 1–3, VALIE EXPORT mugs for the camera in a wig, zippered jacket, and gold jewelry, subtly modulating her poses, facial expressions, and clothing. The triptych explores how photography aids the transformation of complex identities into static images. Here, for example, it documents how makeup, jewelry, hair, clothes, posture, and other culturally defined gender codes, or signs, denote feminine identity. For VALIE EXPORT, this was an aesthetic matter as well as a feminist one, since visual media like photography, television, cinema, painting, and sculpture have played a major role in representing a repressive, sexist image of women. However, VALIE EXPORT saw these same media as potential tools for women’s social advancement. She argued that art can and should be a medium for women to develop a new image of themselves, defined for and by themselves; this belief motivated her photographic identity experiments.