VALIE EXPORT was born as Waltraud Lehner in 1940 in Linz, where she attended the School for the Arts and Crafts. In 1964 she graduated from HBLVA for Textile Industry in Vienna. Since 1967 she has been going by the name VALIE EXPORT, an artistic concept and logo. She works with a wide range of media and caught the attention in the 1960s an 70s with actions in public space that belonged to the field of performance and to media art and were developed from a feminist perspective.

A co-founder of the Austrian Filmmakers Cooperative, she has participated in numerous film and video festivals all around the world. In addition to presenting her work in international exhibitions and participating in major exhibitions like the Venice Biennale (1980) and documenta (1977), the 1970 saw the beginning of her curatorial activities, with the focus on feminism and media art, furthermore she taught at institutions such as the Art Institute in San Francisco, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee/USA, and Berlin University of the Arts. Until 2005, VALIE EXPORT held the professorship for Multimedia and Performance at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne. In 2009 she was the co-commissioner for the Austrian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. For her work to date, VALIE EXPORT has been awarded numerous accolades and prizes, including the Max Beckmann Prize in 2022 and the Grand Decoration of Honor with Star for Services to the Republic of Austria. In 2019 the Roswitha Haftmann Prize recognizing outstanding achievements in the visual arts, the Lebenswerk-Preis (Lifetime Achievement Award) from the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education and Women's Affairs and the Gold Decoration of Honor of the City of Linz for Services to Culture in 2015, the Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts (2014, together with Laurie Anderson, Marianne Faithfull, Gustav Metzger), the Austrian Decoration for Science and Art (2005), the Alfred Kubin Prize (2000), the Oskar Kokoschka Prize (2000) and the Gustav Klimt Prize (1998).

She lives and works in Vienna.

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