artists & participants
This autumn, Hayward Gallery presents Ana Mendieta: Traces, re-evaluating one of the most significant yet under-acknowledged artists of the late 20th century. In addition to films, sculptures, photographs, drawings, personal writings and notebooks, an extensive research room with hundreds of projected slides will give unique access to works Ana Mendieta could never show during her short life.
The exhibition at Hayward Gallery, the first in a UK public institution solely devoted to the artist, will show the full breadth of Ana Mendieta's work. Mendieta was part of a generation of innovative artists whose work no longer fitted the conventions of exhibition making and collecting art. Covering her entire career, and revealing different facets of her unique practice, this timely exhibition will position Mendieta as a singular figure from art history, reveal the creative mind of the artist, and convey the legacy of her work as well as its relevance for artists today.
One of the focal points of the exhibition will be the re-construction of two significant solo exhibitions from the artist's lifetime, including her main body of works, "Siluetas." The extensive and fascinating archive material will shed new light on the way the artist worked and documented her own artistic practice. Featuring super-8 films, photographs, slides, drawings, prints, objects and sculptures, Ana Mendieta: Traces will not only follow a chronology, but will look at the artist's entire oeuvre through the lens of her own time, bringing it afresh to the beginning of the 21st century. The exhibition focuses both on the incredible power of the artist's imagery as well as her critical potential and importance for feminism, and land art.
Mendieta's short career was prolific and began with an accomplished and influential body of work that she created as a graduate student at the University of Iowa. During this time, Mendieta became interested in the relationship between performative rituals and sculpture and important motifs for her life-long practice emerged during these years, including the use of blood, feathers, fire, earth, and the body. Her fragile yet powerful outdoor works speak of the desire to connect with the earth and to explore a mythical relationship with nature. Mendieta's works are rooted in cathartic exercises, relieving the pain of the trauma of an early exile. Mendieta also began to draw upon and recreate rituals particularly resonant with Afro-Cuban and Catholic traditions, and goddess archetypes.
Since her death in 1985, Mendieta's work has been shown in major institutions, including Castello di Rivoli in Turin; the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C.; Whitney Museum, New York; and Tapiés Foundation in Barcelona; among others, but never extensively in the UK.
The Hayward Gallery exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue featuring essays by the art historians Julia Bryson-Wilson and Adrian Heathfield and the exhibition curator as well as an anthology of writings on aspects of Mendieta's life and artistic practice.
The exhibition is curated by Dr. Stephanie Rosenthal, Chief Curator, Hayward Gallery.
This exhibition is supported by The Henry Moore Foundation.
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