Mendieta, Ana
Cuba / U.S. (1948 - 1985)
Untitled (from Silueta Works in Iowa)
Chromogenic color (Ektacolor) print
13 x 19 1/2 in. (33.02 x 49.53 cm) image size; 18 5/8 x 25 1/8 x 1 1/4 in. (47.3 x 63.8 x 3.2 cm) frame size
Joseph and Elaine Monsen Photography Collection
FA 2006.53
Keywords: Landscape; Performance art; Earthwork; Series: Silueta Works in Iowa, 1973 - 1980; Portrait (self); Woman artist; Latin American artist

In her Siluetas series (Spanish for ”Silhouettes”), Ana Mendieta placed herself in the landscape, creating ephemeral gestures and sculptures in the shape of her body that she then photographed. Here, Mendieta used fungi to create an index, or impression, of her presence by way of its absence, an act that the artist once compared to “a dog pissing on the ground.” Her action is an assertion of agency that is self-conscious of its material impermanence, drawing a connection between the cycles of nature and the condition of the body.

This work was made in Iowa, where Mendieta spent much of her youth living in orphanages and with foster families, as a child refugee from Cuba. Uniting her bodily form with the landscape of Iowa, Mendieta emphasizes her belonging, but also her transience within this landscape, evoking her status as an exiled person whose presence is contingent on an absence from elsewhere.

Label copy for The Time. The Place. Contemporary Art from the Collection, November 4, 2017 to March 25, 2018.
Copyright credit: Copyright The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection, Courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York

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