Lydia Moyer / Art

I would like to work with a small group of art students to produce and print a small-edition photo book inspired by the photos of artist Valie Export.  Export is a feminist performance artist but has used photography and video as means of extending her performances.  In particular, I’m interested in her Body Configurations, a series of images produced in the 1970’s.  In the photos, Export relates her body to architecture simply by positioning herself along the lines of columns and curbs and fences.  Sometimes she is at odds with the straight lines of the architecture, sometimes she conforms but the primary action is symbolic: to bring the female body into the architecture of the city (in this case Vienna) which she perceived as largely masculine in design.

Working with students as both performers and photographers, I’d like to essentially recreate Export’s Body Configurations, transposing them from Vienna to UVA.  I see this transposition as especially relevant at UVA due to the prominence of the Jeffersonian architecture at this World Heritage Site and also timely – the Rolling Stone article and the arrest of Martese Johnson a few years ago made it clear that there is still not a complete sense of belonging for all students at this institution with a long history of exclusion.  Addressing this in a way that only art can, I want to work with students to cultivate an understanding of symbolic action and how images can work to both communicate ideas and create intention.  Though the project may read initially as critical, the process is a hopeful and empowering one.

I will identify and work with a small group of upper division art students to make the book over a few months.  The time spent going out together to photograph and develop the images will be time spent both exploring Grounds together and getting to know each student’s story of their time at UVA.  While I imagine primarily working with young women, I can imagine the project stretching to incorporate a few young men if there is interest.  The photos will then be compiled into a book and printed in a small edition.  Each student will receive his or her own copy.

Proposed budget:

Printing costs: $2,500

Lunches for shoot days: $300

TOTAL $2,800