Ana Mendieta was an artist in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Her work was revolutionary to the world of art in many ways. Her style was not to follow conventional ways to make art but to use a number of different factors of the environment to create art. She also used her body or outlines of her body to literally incorporate herself in her art. Mendieta also pushed the boundaries of art by taking a stand on problems in the present culture of the time such as the feminist movement or environmentalist movements. With her themes including feminism, life, death, and violence; she quickly made her place in the world of art.
“the turning point in art was in 1972, when I realized that my paintings were not real enough for what I want the image to convey and by real I mean I wanted my images to have power, to be magic” – Ana Mendieta
Silueta Series (’73-’80)
Rupestrian Sculptures (’81)
Body Tracks (’82)
Mendieta and Feminism
With her art, Mendieta took quite a stand on feminism and gender roles. One of her works that demonstrated this was a “reenactment” of sorts of a rape that took place at a university. She brought the reality of rape alive to the audience instead of it being some far-fetched idea. Another series of art she did included hair transplants. This included pictures with a combination of different facial hair and styles of it, trying to eliminate gender roles. She also did a number of photographs contorting her nude body with panes of glass making a statement about the sexualization of women.
Mendieta and the Earth
A lot of Mendieta’s works revolve around some nature setting. Through this she really makes a statement about our connections to the earth both spiritually and physically. The best example of these connections are seen in her Silueta Series. In these, there is always a figure of a woman in some kind on natural environment outlined in a variety of objects like sticks, leave, flowers, or even blood. She directly puts herself into nature where she is connected.
To me, Mendieta’s work was a little harder to understand and comprehend than most, but that is what I respect about it. With these complex works she put not only her heart into it, but also herself. This really speaks to me and engages me in her works. I like not only knowing what the artist wanted to portray with the work, but also what they were feeling while making it. Through a lot of her works, Mendieta leaves insight to herself and her inner feelings. Obviously, as discussed earlier, she has a connection with environmentalism and feminism but with other works we can see what can only be described as a “darkness” of sorts. Through this we can get a deeper look into the artist but are still left with the mystery of what was going through her mind which I still ponder while looking at her works.
“My art is grounded in the belief of one universal energy which runs through everything: from insect to man, from man to spectre, from spectre to plant from plant to galaxy. My works are the irrigation veins of this universal fluid. Through them ascend the ancestral sap, the original beliefs, the primordial accumulations, the unconscious thoughts that animate the world” – Ana Mendieta