With Ana Mendieta. Traces, the Museum der Moderne Salzburg dedicates an extensive retrospective to the well-known American artist from Cuba for the first time in German-speaking countries and publishes the first German-language monograph.
Ana Mendieta was born in 1948 in Havanna in CubaAt the age of twelve, her parents sent her together with her sister to the United States to be raised there in security. She died in New York in 1985, at the age of thirty-six, in controversial circumstances. Her pioneering work has been acknowledged by retrospectives in the United States and Europe, and is represented in the major museum collections. Long overdue in the German-speaking area, especially in Austria, were a comprehensive exhibition and German monograph on Ana Mendieta. With roughly 150 central works in diverse media ranging from photography, film, and sculpture through to drawing, the exhibition will present a comprehensive overview of Mendietas work. A seperate section of the show will present the artist’s archive: slides and photographs, notebooks and postcards were 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.
Guest Curator: Stephanie Rosenthal, Chief Curator of the Hayward Gallery
Curators: Sabine Breitwieser, Director; with Tina Teufel, Curator, Museum der Moderne Salzburg
Exhibition architecture: Kuehn Malvezzi (Berlin/Milan)