Defiant Muses

Delphine Seyrig and feminist video collectives in France of the 1970s and 1980s

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Project description

This exhibition investigates the overlap between the history of cinema, video and feminism based on the legacy of the French actress Delphine Seyrig. Seyrig (1932-1990) made a name for herself internationally in arthouse cinema of the 1960s and 1970s. She starred in such highly acclaimed films as Alain Resnais‘ “Last Year at Marienbad” (1961) and the “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie“ (1972) by Luis Buñuel. Few people are aware, however, that Delphine Seyrig was a fervent supporter of the feminist movement starting in the 1970s. In 1975, Seyrig teamed up with Carole Roussopoulos and Ioana Wieder to create the collective “Les Insoumuses” (Defiant Muses) and produced videos which became the medium of political activism. With a focus on the video collectives created in the 1970s, “Defiant Muses” portrays the history of feminism as a history of media and examines the friendships and networks of creative and political figures around 1968 in their consciously pan-European orientation. The exhibition presents videos, photos, films and archival documents of like-minded artists from Seyrig’s personal circle of acquaintances, such as Chantal Akermann, Marguerite Duras, Babette Mangolte and Ulrike Ottinger. They present the political demands of that era which continue to be as topical as ever: sexism in the film industry, a lack of visibility of women in culture and society, obstacles to women’s self-determination. Developed in cooperation with the Württembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart and the Kunsthalle in Vienna, the exhibition will be taken over and further developed by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid.

Curators: Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez and Giovanna Zapperi
Artistic director: What, How & for Whom/WHW – Ivet Ćurlin, Nataša Ilić & Sabina Sabolović, Hans D. Christ, Iris Dressler
Artists: Etel Adnan, Chantal Akerman, Marguerite Duras, Liliane de Kermadec, Babette Mangolte, Ulrike Ottinger, Nadja Ringert, Carole Roussopoulos, Delphine Seyrig, Ioana Wieder

Exhibition Kunsthalle Wien / Württembergischer Kunstverein, Vienna / Stuttgart; Project period: 15 May 2021 – 31 Dec. 2023; in cooperation with the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid


Kunsthalle Wien GmbH

Museumsplatz 1
1070 Wien Austria (external link, opens in a new window)