New York

Ana Mendieta

New Museum

In earth and wood sculptures, rock carvings, drawings, photographs, and performances, Ana Mendieta focused on the condition of being a woman. Woman’s body is conceived as vital flesh throughout her work, whether she created images out of ancient rock or used her own body as the medium. Woman is both life-giver and life-symbolizer, but Mendieta’s brilliance lies in the way her work brings out the inseparability of life and death. For the earth is the place of burial as well as the source of sustenance, and Mendieta’s silhouetting of her body in the earth and her creation of body images from natural materials found in the living body of the earth showed that her work was as much an acknowledgment of death as it was a celebration of life. It is this knowledge of the wholeness of existence that prevents her work from becoming naively vitalistic and, especially since her own death in 1985,

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