(1948 – 1985), Cuba

Ana Mendieta Artworks

Ana Mendieta's artistic career, cut short by her premature death in 1985, produced a diverse body of works that were a fusion of sculpture land art and performance. Through diverse media she explored how human beings relate to our surroundings.

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Death of a Chicken

Mendieta's early work includes Death of a Chicken (1972), referencing the obscenity of the world as she experienced it. Performed at the University of Iowa, the performance represented an early instance of Mendieta's use of blood as a medium.

A year later, Mendieta responded to the rape and murder of a fellow student in Rape Scene, which saw her conduct a private performance in which she posed in her apartment as the victim of a sexual assault. The artwork tackled themes of masculine aggression and the oppression of the female body—themes that are present in the subsequent Moffitt Building Piece (1973), which also referenced the crime.

In Moffitt Building Piece, Ana Mendieta's sister hid in a parking lot and filmed the doorway to the artist's Iowa City apartment, where she had placed blood and other ephemera outside the front door. In the film streams of people walk by, taking notice of the blood and moving on.

Siluetas

Ana Mendieta's films were shot primarily with a Bolex Super 8 camera. She shot nearly 100 videos between 1973 and 1981, using the format to document her works, including her famous 'Silueta' series (1973–1980). Mendieta's 'Siluetas' were staged in Iowa and Mexico, where, in her fascination for Central American and Caribbean religious iconography, she frequented pre-Columbian ruins.

Carving the shape of her body into the earth or assembling natural materials into her form, Mendieta's ephemeral creations live on through her films and photographs. Different bodily configurations signaled different symbolisms—for example, by raising her arms, Mendieta referenced the merging of earth and sky.

Ana Mendieta's 'earth-body' works, as she called them, took on more direct reference to ancient goddesses in 1978, when she carved their forms into rock, sand, or clay beds, including a series created in limestone grottos in Cuba, where she returned in 1981. Her sister would later made the film Whispering Cave (2018), as she attempted to trace these sculptures in Jaruco, Cuba.

Tree of Life

Of her 'Siluetas', Ana Mendieta's 'Tree of Life' series saw the artist pose—covered head to foot in mud—against trees. 'Tree of Life', along with other photographs and moving image works, drawings, sculptures, and notebooks featured in the artist's first United Kingdom retrospective at the Hayward Gallery in London in 2013, titled Traces.

Browse Artworks
Untitled: Silueta Series by Ana Mendieta contemporary artwork photography
Ana Mendieta Untitled: Silueta Series, 1979/2020 Suite of six colour photographs
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Volcán by Ana Mendieta contemporary artwork sculpture
Ana Mendieta Volcán, 1979 Colour photograph
20.3 x 25.4 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Silueta de Arena by Ana Mendieta contemporary artwork photography, print, moving image
Ana Mendieta Silueta de Arena, 1978 Super-8mm film transferred to high-definition digital media, colour, silent
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Untitled by Ana Mendieta contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
Ana Mendieta Untitled Graphite on paper
29.8 x 21 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Bacayu (Esculturas Rupestres) [Light of Day (Rupestrian Sculptures)] by Ana Mendieta contemporary artwork photography
Ana Mendieta Bacayu (Esculturas Rupestres) [Light of Day (Rupestrian Sculptures)], 1981/2019 Black and white photograph
101.6 x 139.7 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Flower Person, Flower Body by Ana Mendieta contemporary artwork photography, print
Ana Mendieta Flower Person, Flower Body, 1975/2020 Colour photograph
16 x 20 inches
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Untitled by Ana Mendieta contemporary artwork photography
Ana Mendieta Untitled, 1973/2020 Suite of six black and white photographs
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Bacayu (Esculturas Rupestres) [Light of Day (Rupestrian Sculptures)] by Ana Mendieta contemporary artwork photography
Ana Mendieta Bacayu (Esculturas Rupestres) [Light of Day (Rupestrian Sculptures)], 1981/2019 Black and white photograph
40 x 55 inches
Thomas Erben Gallery Contact Gallery
Silueta Works in Mexico by Ana Mendieta contemporary artwork photography
Ana Mendieta Silueta Works in Mexico, 1977 Suite of twelve colour photographs
50.8 x 40.6 cm
Mendes Wood DM Contact Gallery
Untitled (Facial Hair Transplants) by Ana Mendieta contemporary artwork photography
Ana Mendieta Untitled (Facial Hair Transplants), 1972/1997 Suite of seven colour photographs
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Untitled (Chac Mool) by Ana Mendieta contemporary artwork photography
Ana Mendieta Untitled ("Chac Mool"), 1976 Black and white photograph
20.3 x 25.4 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Untitled by Ana Mendieta contemporary artwork moving image
Ana Mendieta Untitled, 1981 Super-8mm film transferred to high-definition digital media, black and white, silent; running time: 2 min 54 sec
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Bacayu (Esculturas Rupestres) by Ana Mendieta contemporary artwork photography
Ana Mendieta Bacayu (Esculturas Rupestres), 1981/2019 Black and white photograph
101.6 x 139.7 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Maroya (Esculturas Rupestres) by Ana Mendieta contemporary artwork photography
Ana Mendieta Maroya (Esculturas Rupestres), 1981/2018 Black and white photograph
101.6 x 135.3 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Untitled by Ana Mendieta contemporary artwork photography
Ana Mendieta Untitled, 1981/2018 Black and white photograph
99.7 x 135.9 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
La Venus Negra by Ana Mendieta contemporary artwork photography
Ana Mendieta La Venus Negra, 1981/2018 Black and white photograph
99.7 x 135.9 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Burial Pyramid by Ana Mendieta contemporary artwork moving image
Ana Mendieta Burial Pyramid, 1974 Super-8mm film transferred to high-definition digital media, colour, silent; running time: 3 min 17 sec
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Volcán by Ana Mendieta contemporary artwork moving image
Ana Mendieta Volcán, 1979 Super-8mm film transferred to high-definition digital media, colour, silent; running time: 3 min 11 sec
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Itiba Cahubaba (Esculturas Rupestres) by Ana Mendieta contemporary artwork photography
Ana Mendieta Itiba Cahubaba (Esculturas Rupestres), 1981/2019 Black and white photograph
139.7 x 101.6 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Silueta Sangrienta by Ana Mendieta contemporary artwork moving image
Ana Mendieta Silueta Sangrienta, 1975 Super-8mm film transferred to high-definition digital media, colour, silent, 1 min 51 secs
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Silueta Verde: Silueta Series by Ana Mendieta contemporary artwork photography
Ana Mendieta Silueta Verde: Silueta Series, 1976 Lifetime colour photograph
20.3 x 25.4 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Untitled: Silueta Series by Ana Mendieta contemporary artwork moving image
Ana Mendieta Untitled: Silueta Series, 1978 Super-8mm film transferred to high-definition digital media, colour, silent, 3 mins 14 secs
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Untitled by Ana Mendieta contemporary artwork sculpture
Ana Mendieta Untitled, 1985 Wood and gunpowder
201.3 x 29.2 x 7.6 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Untitled by Ana Mendieta contemporary artwork works on paper
Ana Mendieta Untitled, 1984 Graphite on paper
29.5 x 21 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
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