The work by Ana Mendieta contains a high level of ritual, of ceremoniousness. Therefore, not only the use of material is important – blood, fire, earth – but also of the movements of the body. The resemblance to the rites of the pre-Colombian cultures add a metaphysical component to the performance of the Cuban artist.
In Siluetas – the artist’s best-known series – Mendieta uses her body or builds in the middle of nature a silhouette made of gunpowder, stones or mud, and lets her interact with the environment.
Mendieta was born in Havana in 1948 in the bosom of a politically active family. When Fidel Castro came to power in 1961, she and her sister were sent to the United States. Here, she studied painting at the University of Iowa and later did an MFA in Intermedia at the same university. While completing her MFA, Mendieta began to experiment with photography, video and performance.
The artist used these same means to denounce violence against women. In Untitled, Rape Scene (1973) she recreated a scene in which she made herself an imaginary victim of rape.
Mendieta died in New York in 1985. In 2009, the prestigious Cintas de Cuba Foundation recognized her legacy, awarding it the Life and Work prize. Her work will be exhibited at the X Berlin Biennial.