Volume 12, Issue 1/2, 2009
Art, Praxis, and Social Transformation
From Gender as Performative to Feminist Performance Art
Judith Butler and Valie Export
Judith Butler’s idea of gender as performative (introduced in Gender Trouble and now a commonplace in feminist theory) is brought into dialogue with feminist performance art (exemplified by Valie Export, the Austrian media- and performance-artist). Butler’s claim that gender is performative and that it can be changed only through a parodic repetition of performative acts is revisited through the lens of Export’s subversive performance pieces. This “interaction” between theory and art practice shall highlight the political potential of Butler’s work and serve to expand her notion of parody as it pertains more directly to women and the female body.