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 a German monograph on Ana Mendieta. The exhibition presents an extensive overview with key works in a diverse range of media from photography and film to sculpture and drawing. In a large section of the show, the artist’s archive will be presented in depth. Slides and photographs, notebooks and postcards will be specially “animated” for the exhibition.
Ana Mendieta dedicated her work to the search for her origins and identity. In the course of her short career—and equally short life—the artist created a radical and original work in which her interest in the interaction of ritual and sculpture and the body and nature become manifest. Using her own body in connection with elemental materials, such as blood, fire, earth, and water, she created “body pictures,” and transient “earth body” sculptures. In them, Mendieta sounded out thematic complexes, such as life and death, rebirth and spiritual transformation. The pain and rupture caused by cultural banishment and exile are clearly legible in several of her works. The contours of the artist’s body, for example, are left in traces by gun powder, fireworks, and water. Mendieta shaped depictions of ancient goddesses from sand, carved them in stone, and inscribed them in clay and on leaves. Although the artistic media that she used were utterly diverse, the pictures that she created are characterized by an unmistakable, overwhelming, and mystical poetics.
The exhibition has been organized by MdM Salzburg in cooperation with the Hayward Gallery, London, where Ana Mendieta. Traces was shown from September 24 until December 15, 2013.
Curators: Stephanie Rosenthal, Chief Curator at the Hayward Gallery and Sabine Breitwieser, Director and Tina Teufel, Curator, MdM Salzburg
A catalogue will be published by Hayward Publishing, London (English edition) and Hatje/Cantz, Ostfildern (German edition).
A symposium including lectures and a panel discussion will take place on March 26, 2014. (Text source: MdM Salzburg)
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