Ana Mendieta, Untitled (Ocean Bird Washup), 1974, © The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection
Ana Mendieta
Untitled (Ocean Bird Washup)

When she was 13, Ana Mendieta’s (*1948 †1985, Cuba, USA) parents sent her and her sister from Cuba to live in the US. This experience of living in exile was formative for Mendieta’s artistic work. She began working less frequently with art objects already while studying painting and started doing performances instead. Her artworks touch on themes of violence against women, exile, the impermanence of the body, and forces of nature. Mendieta was involved in numerous feminist art projects, such as Artists in Residence Gallery, New York, but she remained critical toward mainstream ‘white’ feminism, which marginalised black women and immigrants. She died young due to a tragic accident.

“Filmed by Breder in Mexico, but clearly depicting a scenario of Mendieta’s devising, the four-minute, thirty-second Super 8 film again finds a young woman in shallow water (Mendieta, covered in the white feathers she sometimes utilized for her performances of the era). But rather than functioning as a lolling, sexualized icon of classical femininity as the female subject did in the work’s Iowa analog of three years earlier, Mendieta is here vitally committed to her own activity, allowing herself to be tossed on the waves and onto the shore, where she’s washed into the branches of a downed tree.” (Jeffrey Kastner)

Courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York

Document media
Super 8 film, colour, silent, 4:30 min

Issue date

Laura Cottingham (COT 1)

dis/appearance, extended body, human/non-human animals, nature