Born in La Habana (Cuba), 1948Decease on 1985 in New York Very active in: 80s, 90s, 2000s, Current decade
Born in Havana, Cuba, in 1948, and died in 1985; studied at the University of Iowa; made more than seventy films and videotapes that document her body-based performances and landscape sculptures.
Ana Mendieta was exiled from her native country in 1961, just before the outbreak of the Cuban Revolution. Much of Mendieta's work expresses the pain and rupture of cultural displacement, and resonates with visceral metaphors of death, rebirth, and spiritual transformation. A seminal figure in feminist art practice of the 1970s, Mendieta devised an emblematic, at times mythical female iconography.
In 1972 Mendieta began making ritualistic performances and haunting earth works, in which she immersed or inscribed her own body within nature. Blood, fire, water, and other natural elements are essential to her highly personal, often mystical vocabulary. Burial and regeneration are recurrent themes. Mendieta's ephemeral "earth-body sculptures" and provocative performances were documented through film, video and photography. Whether painting her body with blood, or burning, carving and inscribing female symbols into the landscape, as in her Silueta series, Mendieta's work is infused with enormous power and poetry.
Mendieta writes: "I have been carrying on a dialogue between the landscape and the female body (based on my own silhouette)... I am overwhelmed by the feeling of having been cast from the womb (nature). Through my earth/body sculptures I become one with the earth... I become an extension of nature and nature becomes an extension of my body..."
Over a fourteen-year period Mendieta made more than seventy films and videotapes that document her powerful body-based performances and landscape sculptures. A selection of these works has now been made available.