Ana Mendieta: Untitled (Glass on Body Imprints), 1972, Suite of six colour photographs, estate prints, 65 x 48 x 2,3 cm; Untitled (Body Tracks), 1974, Colour photograph, lifetime print, 25,4 x 20,3 cm, Collection Igor DaCosta; Untitled (Facial Hair Transplant), 1972, Suite of seven colour photographs, estate prints 1997, 32,4 x 48,9 cm; alle: © The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection, L.L.C. Courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York and Paris and Alison Jacques Gallery, London

Ana Mendieta. Traces

Ana Mendieta is among the most important and influential artists of our era. She was born in 1948 in Cuba, and was sent by her parents at the age of twelve, together with her sister, to be raised in the United States. She died in New York in 1985, at the age of thirty-six. Her pioneering work has been acknowledged by large retrospectives in the United States and Europe, and is represented in the collections of major museums. Long overdue in the German-speaking area, especially in Austria, are a comprehensive exhibition and German monograph on Ana Mendieta. The exhibition presents a comprehensive overview, with roughly 150 central works in diverse media ranging from photography, film, and sculpture through to drawing. A large section of the show will present the artist’s archive: slides and photographs, notebooks and postcards will be specially prepared for the exhibition. 

Ana Mendieta devotes her work to a search for her origins and identity. In the course of her brief career—and likewise short life—the artist created a radical and original oeuvre in which her interest in the correlation of ritual and sculpture, body and nature became manifest. Using her own body in connection with elementary materials, such as blood, fire, earth, and water, she created “body prints,” and ephemeral “earth body-” sculptures. In these, Mendieta explored thematic complexes such as life and death, rebirth and spiritual transformation.  The pain and rupture caused by cultural displacement and exile are clearly legible in several of her works. For example, the outline of the artist’s body is wiped away by black powder, fireworks, or water. Mendieta shapes depictions of ancient goddesses in the sand, scratches them into rocks, and draws them in clay or on leaves. While the artistic media that Mendieta uses in her works could not be any more diverse, the images that she produces are characterized by a distinctive, overwhelming, and mystical poetics. 

The exhibition has been organized by the Museum der Moderne Salzburg in cooperation with the Hayward Gallery, London, where Ana Mendieta. Traces was shown from September 24 to December 15, 2013.

Curators: Stephanie Rosenthal, Chief Curator of the Hayward Gallery, and Sabine Breitwieser, Director, with Tina Teufel, Curator, Museum der Moderne Salzburg
Exhibition architecture: Kuehn Malvezzi, Berlin
Catalogues have been published by Hayward Publishing, London (English edition) and Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern (German edition). 

 


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