Thursday, November 29, 2007
it's later....time for more details.
So here's how it went down:
I was standing at the end of my balcony, thinking about this project and very faintly I heard a voice telling me to tape myself over completely with one hand available to cut myself out with scissors. It said to do this outside in the par across the street from Columbia's main buildings. The voice told me to hang the sculpture I had made over my taped body and that the rest was up to me.
I can't tell you where this came from, or who it was, but I like to believe that Ana Mendieta was speaking to me. Especially since she was such a spiritual person, and I'm not really (but working on it)....it's that much weirder for me. I like things to be explainable, but this definitely isn't so I'm just letting it be what it was.
I chose to follow these instructions but strayed from them in that I did this inside because of my recent illness and it being below freezing right now. I'm not sure if this was the most beneficial decision as it pertains to the performance, but personally it was the best decision for my health.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
The following is a biography from Grove Art Online.
Mendieta, Ana(b Havana, 18 Nov 1948; d New York, 8 Sept 1985).
American sculptor, performance artist, video artist and painter of Cuban birth. From the age of 13, when she was sent to the USA from Cuba by her parents, she lived in orphanages and foster homes in Iowa. Her sense of exile and the separation from her family proved strong motivating forces on her later work. After completing an MA in painting at the University of Iowa in 1972, she entered the university’s new Multimedia and Video Art programme, in which she was free to experiment and develop a unique formal language, gaining an MFA in 1977.
In the 1970s Mendieta began to create ‘earth-body sculptures’ outdoors in Iowa, using the primal materials of blood, earth, fire and water, having first executed performances that she documented in photographs or black-and-white films. In the Silueta series she traced or sculpted the image of her body on the ground, using ignited gunpowder, leaves, grass, mud, stones, other natural elements or cloth. She visited Mexico in 1971 (and again in 1973, 1974, 1976 and 1978) and Cuba in 1980 and 1981, thus re-establishing her connections with Latin America and stimulating her interest in the Afro-Caribbean Santería religion. Her Rupestrian Sculptures, carved in the rocks at the Escaleras de Jaruco in Cuba, refer to primitive goddess images.
Mendieta married Carl André in 1975 and lived from 1978 in New York. In 1983 she went to Rome on an American Academy Fellowship. There she created her first permanent objects in a studio setting. She extended and refined the principles of her early work in floor sculptures representing generalized female shapes, delicate and elegant drawings on leaves and bark paper, and large-scale sculptures in which her characteristic abstracted female silhouettes were burnt into tree trunks. Her feelings of alienation, which resulted not only from her exile but from her sense of being marginalized as a Latin American woman, were channelled into powerful, magical and poetic work. André was charged with her murder but acquitted.
SUSAN S. WEININGER© Oxford University Press 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I was out on my balcony, looking at the dark day and suddenly I heard her voice.
I don't even know if it was real, or if my brain is making it up...but thank you Ana for rewarding my patience.
More details later.
Monday, October 22, 2007
I'm being led by my intuition that I don't really want to contact others surrounding Ana Mendieta. I feel that when I read her words, experience her work (albeit through the medium of books), and filter through some of her published letters and interviews that I am having a direct conversation with her.
I keep hoping that she will come to me in a dream.
The thought just occured to me to see if any museums around Chicago or NY are exhibiting some of her work currently. Maybe I can get a more direct experience of her work that way.
If I find that something is exhibited I may take some tarot cards with me to throw while I sit in front of the work.
I keep telling myself that this is a process. I would love to complete everything today, but like everything else it takes time and I can only do today what I can do to my ability. Here's to hoping a museum in Chi has something of hers.
Monday, October 1, 2007
I stumbled upon an Article in the Tribune about Santa Muerte. And I started making connections between this figure and Ana Mendieta - what I've read in Where is Ana Mendieta? about how her trips to Mexico really impacted her and her work. Last night I also read a military article about How Santa Muerte is the Saint of those individuals on the "Fringes of Society." And although I found many of the opinions posited by the author to be very biased, the report is very research detailed and I learned a lot about Mexican culture and how death is viewed. I find it incredibly interesting that for those, as the author puts it, "whose lives are of crime or directly touched by crime" are so influenced by the notion of sacred death. Perhaps this notion of Sacred Death is hope by another name...
So how am I affected by my artist today? I think that because she was exiled and lived in this space between cultures, she understood and executed that position of "living between." I don't know another way to express it right now...maybe I'll have a more in depth understanding in a few weeks, but this is how my brain is wrapping itself today.
Things that I'm finding encompassed in Ana Mendieta's work:
Ritual -creating liminal spaces in the concrete world
Death as a Part of Life
The Bind of location/dislocation (exile)
The dualism of collective memory/forgetting
History and Nature
Identity and Nothingness
Connection and Void
And where does this leave me? I'll be thinking about this question all day today...and probably for a long time afterwards.