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A physical researcher approaches .. Re-pulse an embodied reading of Ana Mendieta `

Charlotte Wendy Law csm art&science 2014


This paper came to me within a 12-hour Ritually Reading and Researching study/performance day facilitated by Performance Space.1 Durational and strictly time managed, as a group we moved on the hour every hour from Performance Space to the LADA library I began the day with a clear intention: to further discover a new

power in my precursors, the women of this era appeared embalmed in elegance and extremity. Amongst them Valentine de Saint-Points

http://www.performancespace.org/rituallyreading-and-researching. php 1

SXEOLFDWLRQ)HPLQLQH)XWXUHV 6LQD $VDZRPDQĂ€QGLQJ Performance Space. 2013

Futurist Manifesto of Lust jumped out, an elegant storm raged and delighted, as she heralded lust “an essential element of the dynamism of life...a force...a virtue...an epicentre at which energies are

Live Art Developement Agency. 2013

resourced...an expression of a being projected beyond itself.�(1918) 7RHQGZLWKDà RRGRISDVVLRQDQGGHPDQG´:RPDQEHFRPH sublimely unjust once more, like all the forces of nature! Delivered from all control, with your instincts revived, you will take place among the elements.�(1918) Enlivened, I return to the space and movement. 2QWKHQGOLEUDU\YLVLW,GLVFRYHUHGDERG\RIZRUNWKDWà RZHG from the same impulses, and knocked on the doors of my own practice. This was my introduction to Ana Mendieta. It would be remarkable, but not impossible for Mendieta to have read this Manifesto, considering the currency of feminist thought, the FLYLOULJKWVPRYHPHQWZRPDQ¡VOLEHUDWLRQDQGWKHà X[RIWKHVHRYHU time. Yet, Mendieta’s oeuvre echoes, enacts, embodies, and ultimately IXOÀOVWKHFDOO6HDUFKLQJDQGFHOHEUDWLQJZLWKDjouissance that

A. Dunoyer de Segonzac (Valentine de Saint-Point) Montjoie! organe de l’impÊrialisme artistique français. 2. annÊe, nos. 1-2, jan.-fÊv. 1914.

troubled her audience, who were in turn kept at a distance to achieve her goals.

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,QP\UHDGLQJ,Ă&#x20AC;QG0HQGLHWDKDVEHHQUHDGE\GHIDXOW&ULWLFDO discourse rests on her body, Donald Kuspits (1996) contribution is laughably antiquated, as his sexually orientated power games seem desperate to put Mendieta back in her box through psychoanalysis. Post-Freudians and Post-Structuralists are thankfully on her side. In writing on Artaud and the artistic process as a way of being outside of, or against dominant social norms, Deleuze quipped, â&#x20AC;&#x153;You will be organised, you will be an organism, you will articulate your body RWKHUZLVH\RXDUHMXVWGHSUDYHG<RXZLOOEHVLJQLĂ&#x20AC;HUDQGVLJQLĂ&#x20AC;HG interpreter and interpreted - otherwise you are just deviant.â&#x20AC;? (1980: 159) Mendieta, despite the calm she achieved in much of her later work, and her enduring positivity, has landed on the sharp end of this abjection.

As an artist that used performance, discovered through performance, LWVHHPHGĂ&#x20AC;WWLQJWKDWSHUIRUPDWLYHPHWKRGVVKRXOGEHFHQWUDOWRP\ research. My intensely personal experience of her work came before exploring the critical debate that circles it, and I found her powerful in image, act, and word. However, my subsequent readings seemed to PLVVWKLVYLWDOLW\3RVVLEO\WKH\NQRZPRUHWKDQ,GR\HW,Ă&#x20AC;QGLW telling that the most positive statement comes from a friend, Nancy Spero, who performed a number of re-enactments in homage, and spoke with warmth and recognition of Mendietaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work stating, â&#x20AC;&#x153;If one of her sculptures were sent to a distant planet (...) it would still convey the imagery, strength, mystery, and sexuality of the female.â&#x20AC;?(1995: 168) In later readings, in the place of Mendietaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Ana Mendieta, Sandwoman, 1983 http://despinarangou.blogspot. co.uk/2011/11/ana-mendieta-body. html. 06.04.14

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timelessness, birthed through pleasure and pain, a sensation of


abjection emerged, feeding from an idea of absence that needs to be teased and re-pulsed. In an attempt to do so, I offer a reading based on embodied research that reconciles theory to practice, whilst examining the source of abjection.

An/other body In tracing the work of Mendieta blood, milk, feathers, and follicle secretions give over to total landscape. Borders, fertile places for transgression, are her sites of exploration. Mendietaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s eventual move outside of her own self as site, into geography brought the ability to step away from the work and to document and explore new materials of transition. However by starting with her own form, playing with its subject/object status, and maintaining the female as her sculptural and conceptual locus, the body of Ana Mendieta is inescapable. The critical spectrum runs from David Hopkins statement that Mendieta â&#x20AC;&#x153;foregrounds her female identityâ&#x20AC;?(2003: 3) to Miwan Kwonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ideas on female empowerment through â&#x20AC;&#x153;self-otheringâ&#x20AC;? and the view that Mendieta â&#x20AC;&#x153;almost always approaches erasure or negation: her â&#x20AC;&#x153;bodyâ&#x20AC;? consistently disappeared.â&#x20AC;?(1996: 168) I offer these opposing views a as capsule of the critical debate, take it and hold on as you experience a sensation of falling into a hall of mirrors, WKDWUHMHFWVZLWKLQWKHUHĂ HFWLRQ/HWXVEHEULHIWKHERG\RIDGDQFHU

Ana Mendieta, Untitled (Glass on Body Imprintsâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;Face) (detail), 1972, blackand-white photograph, 10 x 8â&#x20AC;?

is not the same as the body of an artist, and not a body of an artist who HYHQWXDOO\IHOOĂ RRUVWRKHUGHDWK8QGRXEWHGO\WKLVKDVFRORXUHG the discourse, in retrospection comes abjection. Men that die young are lionised, women on the other hand are rationalised: the outsider deserver. Mendietaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s death was unexpected so can, from this point, 3


be dismissed from my dialogue. Its fact is known, albeit unresolved. &HUWDLQO\WKLVGHVLUHZDVSUHVHQWLQPDQ\UHDGLQJVDQGVRWKH question remains, is she, or isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t she? Present, absent, abject?

Before biography we have the body, â&#x20AC;&#x153;the body is the body, alone it VWDQGVÂľ $UWDXG DQGDVLWVWDQGVDVWKH´Ă&#x20AC;UVWDQGPRVWQDWXUDO instrument of manâ&#x20AC;? (Polhemus, 1975:5) I return to see how she used it. Lets read some body language, lets walk.2 %\FKDQFHWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWUHWURVSHFWLYHRI WKLV major artistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work was made in the UK at the same time I discovered Mendieta at The Hayward Gallery, London. From 24.09. - 15.12.13, entitled Traces. I made two trips as part of my research; practicing embodied looking, writing stream of consciousness, subtle gestures, walking. 2

There is a stripped down simplicity to the body; a just-ness, an allIâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve-got-ness, an immediacy and fragility, an unshakeable presence on uncertain ground. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s real, and Mendieta is present as we enter the room: pressed up against the glass, inviting all manner of distortions. Here, before the body we have a face: the place of recognition and the VHDWRILGHQWLW\:LWKLQ)DFLDO&RVPHWLF9DULDWLRQVDQG)DFLDO+DLU Transplant, the face of Mendieta becomes a canvas for multiple VLQJXODULWLHVDVVXPHGDQGSOD\HGRXW&DSWXUHGEXWUHWDLQLQJPRWLRQ 0HQGLHWD¡VĂ HVKKDQJVIHDWXUHVWZLVWEORDWDQGVKLPPHUWRZDUGVWKH mythic, where (especially within Transplant) the status of trans is PDLQWDLQHGUDWKHUWKDQIXOĂ&#x20AC;OOHG%\WDNLQJDYR\DJHDORQJDVWUHDPRI in-between the intention is more interesting than the simplicity of DUULYDO$VDQ\WUDQVJHQGHUHGLQGLYLGXDOZLOOFRQĂ&#x20AC;UPIURP)WR0 does not equate to from A to B. Slipping between the binary, there is newness, and an ancient form of androgynous power to embrace.

This sensory play continues as Mendieta pushes her body against a sheet of glass, a frame of reference, and against the gaze. Mendieta Ana Mendieta, Untitled (Facial Hair Transplants) 1972. Lifetime color photograph. Estate of Ana Mendieta and Galerie Lelong, New York

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cuts, without cutting, and distorts face, breasts, back, and abdomen


with a quietude that shows she was well aware of the gendered and narcissistic misgivings inherent in a woman presenting herself.

Now take the human and change the accepted hierarchy, level the ELRORJLFDOSOD\LQJĂ&#x20AC;HOGDQGUHDOO\SOD\,Q%LUG7UDQVIRUPDWLRQZLWK DPRGHOWRPRGHODQGWRFODGLQIHDWKHUVWKHSXVKLQWRĂ LJKWLV grounded by the very humanness of her scale. Long arms and legs LQVLVWLWDQGDIHDWKHUHGIHOLQHRUĂ \LQJSULPDWHHQWHUVWKHVWDJHWKH

Ana Mendieta, Untitled, Glass on Body Imprints 1972. http://behindthecurtainfeminism.wordpress. com/tag/ana-mendieta/ 06.04.14

body of a new species.

So far, 1972 reveals many playful explorations across Deleuzian SODLQVRIVLQJXODULW\*UDVVRQ:RPDQFRPSOHWHVWKHVH´EHFRPLQJ molecularâ&#x20AC;? (1980), whilst also being the beginning of the deep dialogue Mendieta will have throughout her practice with nature, as Hans Breder notes â&#x20AC;&#x153;from that point, she blended her body with the elements in innumerable ways.â&#x20AC;?(2013) However, of these early works LW¡V&KLFNHQ3LHFHWKDWUHDOO\PDUNV0HQGLHWD¡VHDUO\LQWHQWLRQ

Ana Mendieta. Feathered. 1972. Lifetime color photograph. Duncan, Michael. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tracing Mendieta.â&#x20AC;? Art in America. April 1999: 110 -113, 154.

Standing alone Mendieta fetishizes her own body. This is no small act RUVLPSOHDUWLVWLFVWDWHPHQW7RXFKHGE\VDFULĂ&#x20AC;FLDOEORRGDFRPPRQ ritual patina, fetish objects created in this way serve a purpose, and DUHPDGHZLWKDVSHFLĂ&#x20AC;FIXQFWLRQWRIXOĂ&#x20AC;O7KHLUPDJLFUHVLGHVLQWKH LQWHQWLRQZLWKLQWKHPDNLQJ&DOOLQJRQSRZHUVEH\RQGWKHKXPDQLW acknowledges lines of connection between the individual, the community (for which Mendieta felt she had lost), and the universal.

Kristevaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s seminal text on abjection has been often quoted in regards to Mendieta, yet in her exploration of rites, which explores notions of LQFOXVLRQDQGH[FOXVLRQGHĂ&#x20AC;OHPHQWDQGSXULĂ&#x20AC;FDWLRQOLWWOHLVVDLGRQ

Ana Mendieta, Untitled (death of a chicken) Performance, 1972. http://arthistory.sdsu. edu/596/596_3/596_3.html 06.04.14

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the tribal and magical, yet on the fetish object she casts a light, â&#x20AC;&#x153;the fetish becomes a life preserver, temporary and slippery, but nonetheless indispensible.â&#x20AC;?(1980: 37) This is an act of self-empowerment and ownership, and makes me question the reading ´8VLQJKHUERG\ZDVOLNHKLWWLQJURFNERWWRPOLNHDFDWKDUWLF immersion, which made her go beyond herself and highlight the Ana Mendieta, Untitled (death of a chicken) Performance, 1972. http://helen-barr.blogspot. co.uk/2012/03/sickana-mendieta. html 06.04.14

´LPPHGLDF\DQGHWHUQLW\¾RIWKHFROOHFWLYHYLWDOà RZ¾ 0RXUH 24) Rock bottom denotes desperation, where as here there is clear intention, written in blood, a powering up and commitment to the task at hand.

As James Fraser explored in The Golden Bough (1922), there is a magic of contact; Tausig expanding on this shows us that â&#x20AC;&#x153;by making an object and spiritualising it, gives one power over what is portrayed.â&#x20AC;? (1992: 90). The centrality of magic to Mendieta is without question, as she herself stated, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The turning point in art was in 1972, when I realized that my paintings were not real enough for what I wanted the image to convey and by real I mean I wanted my images to have power, to be Magicâ&#x20AC;? (Mendieta, undated)

Mendieta self-appointed task became one of continuous transformations, pushing the potentials of material and form, which UHDOO\WRRNĂ LJKWLQKHU6LOXHWDVHULHV%HJLQQLQJZLWKDVLQJXODU concept, the silhouette, Mendieta completed hundreds of these artistic experiments; folding individual form into material, material into Ana Mendieta, Untitled, (detail) Silueta Series, circa 1978. http://www.alisonjacquesgallery.com/exhibitions/12/works/ 06.04.14

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material, Silueta into Silueta, instigating eruptions and dissolutions.


In his provocative essay on breaking the dominance of the human; to re-build by exploring the synergy between form, Deleuze is clearly VSHDNLQJWKHVDPHODQJXDJH´$%:2LVPDGHLQVXFKDZD\WKDW LWFDQEHRFFXSLHGSRSXODWHGRQO\E\LQWHQVLWLHV,WLVQRQVWDWLĂ&#x20AC;HG unformed, intense matter, the matrix of intensity. Intensity = zero; EXWWKHUHLVQRWKLQJQHJDWLYHDERXWWKDW]HURÂľ  &ULWLFVRI the time saw in these material disruptions, the unsettling Fetish series, and explicit references to burial rites from ancient Egypt to Navaho Indians which verged on re-enactments as an â&#x20AC;&#x153;aesthetic lust for deathâ&#x20AC;?,(Rogoff, 2013) However, if we take the starting point of zero, we can see Mendieta is indeed â&#x20AC;&#x153;inventing self-destructions that have nothing to do with the death drive.â&#x20AC;? (1980: 160)

Ana Mendieta, Untitled, Fetish Series, Iowa, 1977. Lifetime colour photograph. Estate of Ana Mendieta and Galerie Lelong, New York

$VDPDWHULDOEORRGGRPLQDWHVWKHIROORZLQJ\HDUVXVHGVSHFLĂ&#x20AC;FDOO\ because of its powerful links to ritual and a sense of homeland. Yet in 1973 Mendietaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s focus shifted from playing with the ontological to DVSHFLĂ&#x20AC;FVRFLDOLQWHUURJDWLRQDIWHUDEUXWDODFWRIVH[XDOYLROHQFH,Q Rape-Murder Mendieta created a tableau vivant and performed a UHHQDFWPHQWWKDWIRUFHGUHĂ HFWLRQDWFORVHUDQJHKLJKOLJKWLQJ socially accepted masculine aggression, sexual violence, and collective responsibility. Alongside this work which was directed to an exclusively male audience, Mendieta made a number of public LQWHUYHQWLRQVLQFOXGLQJ0RIĂ&#x20AC;W'RRU3LHFH)LOPLQJEORRGVSLOOLQJ onto the street from behind a closed door, Mendieta captures the sideglances and sustained unresponsiveness of the passer-by. By extending interrogation into everyday scenarios and the community at ODUJH0HQGLHWDKLJKOLJKWHGWKHQHZO\GLVFRYHUHGĂ&#x20AC;JXUHRIWKH

$QD0HQGLHWDĂ&#x20AC;OPVWLOOIURP0RIĂ&#x20AC;WW Building Piece, 1973 http://walkoftheweek.blogspot. FRXNDQDPHQGLHWDPRIĂ&#x20AC;W building-piece-1973.html 06.04.14

7


Social Psychologists Latane and 'DUOH\ZHUHWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWWRLQYHVWLJDWH what came to be known as the Bystander Effect, now a staple in psychology textbooks. Their Ă&#x20AC;QGLQJVVKRZHGWKHJUHDWHUWKH number of witnesses to an event, difused the level of responsbilty felt by individuals to act. http://faculty.babson.edu/krollag/ org_site/soc_psych/latane_bystand. html 3

E\VWDQGHULQVRFLHW\EURXJKWWROLJKWLQ1HZ<RUN&LW\DIWHUWKH murder of Kitty Genovese in her home on March 13, 1964.3

:LWKLQWKH5DSHZRUNV0HQGLHWD¡VERG\ZDVSRVLWLRQHGDVWKHYLFWLP found, face down, bloody and exposed. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m intrigued to see this turn in her body language. From the face-on confrontation with subject/ object, there is a new consistency to Mendieta back. Portraiture is mostly absent and barriers are intersected between artist, act, and REVHUYHU&ORVHGGRRUZD\VPDNH\RXORRNDQGLQWKHĂ&#x20AC;OPVPDGHRI Body Tracks and Blood Sign, Mendieta works against a wall, turning her back on the audience. Even within these enclosed VHWWLQJV0HQGLHWDDSSHDUVOLNHDĂ&#x20AC;JXUHRQWKHODQGVFDSH XQLGHQWLĂ&#x20AC;DEOHEXWGHĂ&#x20AC;DQWO\WKHUH$V5R\%LUGZKLVWHOOZULWHV´WKHUH is a channel of communication of language and there is also a channel

Ana Mendieta, Body Tracks (Rastros Corporales) 1982. Photograph taken during a performance at Franklin Furnace, New York City.

which pertains to kinesis, â&#x20AC;&#x153;body motion communication.â&#x20AC;?â&#x20AC;?(1975: 25) Mendieta is ahead of us, face-less, becoming-anyone. The movement is one of de-individualisation, which loops back to notions of the FROOHFWLYH:LWKKDQGVDQGIRUHDUPVGLSSHGLQEORRGKHUERG\LV RQFHDJDLQKHUWRROXVHGWRPDUNKHUVSDFHLQWLPH:KHWKHU succumbing to the forces of gravity and being pulled to the earth, or writing the statements â&#x20AC;&#x153;SHE GOT LOVEâ&#x20AC;? / â&#x20AC;&#x153;THERE IS A DEVIL ,16,'(2)0(ÂľZHDUHGUDZQLQWRZKDW5RJHU&DLOORLVFDOOHG manism and witness an agent, â&#x20AC;&#x153;being tempted by space....showing the SXUVXLWWKURXJKVHOIDEDQGRQRIDQLGHQWLĂ&#x20AC;FDWLRQRIVHOIDQGQRQVHOI consciousness and the external world.â&#x20AC;? (1938)

Ana Mendieta, Body Tracks (Rastros Corporales) 1982. Photograph, Estate of Ana Mendieta and Galerie Lelong, New York

8

,Q0HQGLHWDPDGHKHUĂ&#x20AC;UVW6LOXHWDĂ&#x20AC;QGLQJDOLPLQDOIRUPVKH was to explore for the next 7 years.


This body, built up from a silhouette of her own, took many forms; some with arms aloft recall trance states and voodoo dance, a slight LQFOLQDWLRQLQWKHVSLQHVHWVWKHERG\GULIWLQJWKRVHPDGHRIĂ RZHUV disentangle and break down as they travel across water, those hewn from the earth they seem scraped into being by savage hands, whilst others emerge from natures creases and upturned roots, where found moments of rupture are embedded with a female form; they blossom, bleed, dissolve, burn, have hips that sway. Transition is their common bond. Mendietaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s actual presence comes and goes within these elemental works, which were carefully documented and often portrayed by a single image. As her audience I see Mendieta in my minds eye in the creative act, the process, the before, and the after. Although within these the body of Mendieta is a (mostly unseen) maker, and off camera, her presence lingers.4

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interesting to treat each of these forms as vital emotional beings,

Ana Mendieta, Silueta de Cohetes (Anima) 1976 Lifetime color photograph. (detail) http://www.castellodirivoli.org/en/anamendieta-she-got-love/ 06.04.14 A. Franke in the publication, Animism: Modernity Through the Looking Glass, gives a brief but telling synopsis of a Silueta, charting itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s changing states of being, which allow it to essentially become a multiplicity, fully documented, to then be represented by a single image. 4

collectively they are powerful, dream-like, socially unacceptable. :KDWGRHVLWPHDQWREHDZRPDQRQĂ&#x20AC;UH"7RH[SORGHOHDYHDVKHV DQGEHJLQDJDLQ":HKHDUWKHHFKRRI9DOHQWLQHDQGLIZHORRNDW the social appreciation of the body, especially Mary Douglasâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s insight â&#x20AC;&#x153;The social body constrains the way the physical body is perceived.â&#x20AC;? (1975: 28) we gain further understanding of the abjection. The Siluetaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s speak in tongues of excess. Many critics are careful to point out that human was her scale; life-sized, highlighting Mendietaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s concern was in making â&#x20AC;&#x153;unintrusiveâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;minor gesturesâ&#x20AC;?(Rogoff, 2013) especially when viewed alongside the Land-Art works of her contemporaries. These statements do not diminish the works power.

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Loved, these transitional-objects, and the passionate making of, existed outside of accepted social bodily norms.

As an active political voice, Mendieta was acutely aware of the constrains of the society she had found herself in, was vividly experienced as an outsider. In going outside to nature to gain the Ana Mendieta, Untitled, Silueta Series, 1967-78. Lifetime color photograph. http://catlinwilliams. tumblr.com/post/13827144084/ ana-mendieta-silueta-series-fromthe-late 06.04.14

space needed to work, Mendieta was rejecting and breaking with the socio-bodily conventions, and the unspoken rule, â&#x20AC;&#x153;In every society, everyone knows and has to know and learn what he has to do in all conditions.â&#x20AC;? (Mauss, 1975: 27) Mendieta exposes the dual status of the body as object and subject in society, without committing the same violence on her own body as many of her contemporaries. The human body presses against the VRFLDOVNLQVEUXVKXSDJDLQVWRQHDQRWKHULQĂ XHQFLQJDQGLQIRUP ing behaviours. The explicit and visceral three-dimensional language Mendieta crafted spoke of desire, for an older form of connectivity, which liberated the boundaries of the body, and agitated social order. Gloria Moure summarized this in her statement, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The individualâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s alienation with regards to his or her capacity for direct experience...is still the ultimate paradigm of western culture.â&#x20AC;? (1996: 20)

This paradigm has been taken up by a host of writer and thinkers, from that modernist/post-modernist point onwards as the concerns 0HQGLHWDYRLFHGKDYHDFFHOHUDWHG7KHUHDUHPDQ\VSHFLĂ&#x20AC;FDOO\ connected to anthropology (Taussig and Latour), and those with a more overreaching philosophical scope, such as Virillo and Guattari. *XDWWDUL¡VĂ&#x20AC;QDOH[SORVLYHWH[WVRXQGVRXWKLVUDGLFDOVWDQFHRIHFR logic which calls for a future where we â&#x20AC;&#x153;reinvent the relation of the 10


subject to the body, to phantasm, to the passage of time, to the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;mysteries â&#x20AC;&#x2DC; of life and death...Search for antidotes to mass-media and teleosomatic standardization, conformism, manipulation.â&#x20AC;?(2008) A resonant echo of Mendieta work, and statement â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Struggle IRU&XOWXUH7RGD\LVWKH6WUXJJOHIRU/LIHÂľ  $OWKRXJK writing her Manifesto post-Mendieta, and despite the fact she did not become party to our new media age, Mendieta has the potential to join Harawayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cyborg ranks as â&#x20AC;&#x153;oppositional, utopian, and FRPSOHWHO\ZLWKRXWLQQRFHQFHÂľ  $V0HQGLHWDĂ RZHGIURP 6DLQW3RLQWWKHZRUGVRI+DUUDZD\VHHPDSWZKHQVKHDVNV´:K\GR RXUERGLHVKDYHWRHQGDWWKHVNLQ"Âľ  :KDW,KRSHWRVKRZ in this is that Mendieta was following similar lines of enquiry as progressive thinkers of her time, and ours. She has in ways been limited by an easy grouping arrived at by a simplistic over-feminine view of the goddess, but her concerns were human, global, future orientated, and trans.

Elisabeth Von Samsonow, spring-boarding from Anti-Oedipus with KHUHVVD\$QWL(OHFWUDSRVLWVWKHĂ&#x20AC;JXUHRIWKHJLUODVDYLWDOZD\RI â&#x20AC;&#x153;being-in-the-worldâ&#x20AC;? a free-form creator with an intuitive relationship with material. As Deleuze speaks of â&#x20AC;&#x153;becoming-animalâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;becoming-molecularâ&#x20AC;?, Samsonow continued his train of thought, â&#x20AC;&#x153;to be human (...) means to establish and to maintain a relationship with everything that is not human...linked to a logic of the earth which we urgently need to elaborate.â&#x20AC;?(2012: 199) For Samsonow, as for Deleuze, the girl is a shape-shifter, â&#x20AC;&#x153;she may be animal, she maybe water, perhaps she is air, perhaps a plant, perhaps a stone.â&#x20AC;?(2012: 202) Mendieta ticks all these boxes. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I become an extension of Nature and

Ana Mendieta, Untitled, Tree of Life Series, 1977. Lifetime color photograph. http://nmpena.wordpress.com/tag/mendieta/ 06.04.14

11


nature becomes an extension of my body.â&#x20AC;?(1996: 51)

Through physical immersion with her materials and tasks Mendieta re-rooted, often referring to her practice as â&#x20AC;&#x153;ritual-work.â&#x20AC;? Her acts KDYHVSHFLĂ&#x20AC;FUHIHUHQFHVZKHWKHUWKHVHDUHWULEDOVXFKDV1DYDKR Sand Painting which acted as a form of natural medication, its cures found in the act of placing the body within the design, and within the landscape, thus linking the macro and the micro, or the practice of carrying earth from your homeland, to eat each day. This thourghtful research of place and practices of cultures past shows Mendieta commitment to the continual accumulation of tactile knowledge, and a holistic, animist, sensuous appreciation of the world. Reading this in the spirit of Hegel, it becomes the ultimate IRUPRIVFLHQWLĂ&#x20AC;FNQRZOHGJHZKLFK´GHPDQGVDEDQGRQPHQWWRWKH very life of the object.â&#x20AC;? (Preface to The Phenomenology of Mind, 2003) Ana Mendieta, Untitled, Silueta Series, Mexico, 1973. Lifetime colour photograph. Estate of Ana Mendieta and Galerie Lelong, New York

In instigating action, looking for spaces with less and less control in order to arrive at a sensation of connectivity, Mendieta is consistently LQGLDORJXHZLWKKHUVXUURXQGLQJV&DOOLQJKHUVHOID´FRQVFLHQWLRXV collaborator with nature.â&#x20AC;?(1982) I will show that just as her body was a material, so was the land she inhabited.

Out of Place $QH[LOHIURP&XED0HQGLHWDDUULYHGLQWKH86$DVD\HDUROGWR experience a radical change in status, racism, and an enforced WUDQVLWRU\OLIHVW\OH7UDYHOOLQJZLWKRXWDQH[WHQGHGIDPLO\LQWKH86 to greet them on arrival, the Mendieta sisters were just two of the 12


HVWLPDWHG&XEDQFKLOGUHQVHQWE\WKHLUIDPLOLHVWRWKH Operation Peter Pan (OperaciĂłn Peter Pan / OperaciĂłn Pedro Pan) was the codename RI D&,$SURMHFWZKLFKĂ&#x20AC;UVWVSUHDGUXPRUV through Cuban media such as the radio that the government, led by Fidel Castro planned to take children to military schools and to Soviet labor camps, resulting in an exodus RI PLQRUVIURP&XEDWRWKH86&RQĂ LFWLQJ stories can be found from the church groups involved http://www.pedropan.org/category/ history, and alternative sources, http://www. counterpunch.org/2011/12/16/the-cia-cubaand-operation-peter-pan/ 5

5

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This dramatic split resulted in a short stay in a refugee camp followed by a life of perpetual motion; moving from orphanage to boarding school, boarding school to foster-home, foster-home to orphanage. Spending 6 months here and 6 months there, Mendieta as an adolescent was re-birthed as a multiple minority and weaned on self-reliance. In Mendietaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s progression to adulthood there is nothing stable. The only constant is the temporary inhabitation of place. Thus, Mendieta was an outsider or â&#x20AC;&#x153;dejectâ&#x20AC;?(Kristeva, 1982) from the start.

7KHUHLVDVXLWDEOHGUHDPOLNHWZLQLQJRIWKHĂ&#x20AC;JXUHRIWKHDUWLVWDQG the criminal in the world of Mendieta. Raquelin Mendieta, VSHDNLQJRQĂ&#x20AC;OPVD\VRIWKHLUXSEULQJLQJ´ZHZHUHFULPLQDOVWRWKHVH SHRSOHÂľ  DQGDOVRUHĂ HFWHG´,QDVWUDQJHZD\,EHOLHYH$QD DQG,ZHUHDEOHWREHFRPHDUWLVWVEHFDXVHZHOHIW&XEDÂľ   In an interview Mendieta states, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I know if I had not discovered art, I would have been a criminal. â&#x20AC;&#x153;(Art and Artists: 1983) and follows this pseudo-confession by quoting Adornoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sentiment, â&#x20AC;&#x153;all works of art are uncommitted crimes.â&#x20AC;? This idea returns us to Kristevaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s idea of the â&#x20AC;&#x153;dejectâ&#x20AC;?, he who strays in order to save him (or her) self. The essential difference is her active political agenda. If Mendieta had

Ana Mendieta. Untitled, Silueta Series, Iowa, 1976-1980. Lifetime colour photograph. Estate of Ana Mendieta and Galerie Lelong, New York

DFTXLHVFHGWRWKHVRFLDODQGDFFHSWHGWKHGHĂ&#x20AC;QHGOLPLWVRIZKDWD IHPDOH&XEDQFRXOGEHSHUKDSVVKHZRXOGKDYHEHFRPHD FULPLQDOKRZHYHULQVWDQGLQJĂ&#x20AC;UPLQKHUEHOLHI´7KHIXQFWLRQRI an artist is not a gift but a commitmentâ&#x20AC;?(1982) Mendieta cements her 13


desire to contribute, â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is only with a real and long enough awakening that a person becomes present to himself, and it is only with this presence that a person begins to live like a human being. To know oneself is to know the world, and it is also paradoxically a form of exile from the world.â&#x20AC;? (1982: 168)

$IWHUDYLVLWWR0H[LFRLQZLWKWKH8QLYHUVLW\RI,RZDDQG Ana Mendieta, Untitled, Silueta Series, Old Manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Creek, Iowa. 1967-78 Lifetime colour photograph. Estate of Ana Mendieta and Galerie Lelong, New York

PDNLQJWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWRIZKDWZDVWREHFRPHKHUODUJHVWERG\RIZRUNWKH 6LOXHWD6HULHV0HQGLHWDEHJDQZRUNZLWKDGHWHUPLQHGHIIRUWWRĂ&#x20AC;QG creative space outside, in nature, where she began to work through QRWLRQVRIFRQQHFWLYLW\LGHQWLW\WKHĂ X[RIWKHSHUVRQDOVRFLDODQG WKHXQLYHUVDO8OWLPDWHO\PRYLQJWKHFUHDWLYHDFWRIPDNLQJDQG documenting, outside of spaces with cultural currency to wastelands, ZHWODQGVGHVHUWVEHDFKHVSODFHVRIERWKGLVORFDWLRQDQGDIĂ&#x20AC;QLW\ homelands all. The Silueta Series, made in numerous locations between 1973 and 1980, draw power and inspiration from location and the rites and rituals belonging to the land, especially those of Native Indians, Santeria and Yoruba (west African animist symbolism). Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s through this geographic re-location that the viewer can return from the de-individualised artist to witness an artist work ing through her biography.

In discussing the work of Eva Hesse, Migon Nixon touches on the ideas of LaPlanche and the relationship between analyst and analysand, with the analyst offering through transference a place to be

14

Ana Mendieta. Untitled, Silueta Series. 1967-78. Lifetime colour photograph. Estate of Ana Mendieta and Galerie Lelong, New York

´Ă&#x20AC;OOHGLQÂľRU´KROORZHGRXWÂľ  )RU0HQGLHWDKHUXVHRI material and found landscapes, come close to this relationship. The


siteâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s she found, many of which were returned to again and again, allowed her to invoke the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ghostâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; within the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;hostâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. Transitory being and transitory making without the desire for longevity, or the presence of an audience, secludes the work, allowing a sense of commune with nature, privacy and immediacy.

Much has been written on Mendietaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s yearning, and her quest for origins. Orphan-hood and exile are frequent touchstones in her vocabulary. Jean Fisher in her discussion on mystical language captures another dimension which can illuminate the critical response to this outsider stance, stating â&#x20AC;&#x153;groundedness is an act of dissentâ&#x20AC;?, adding â&#x20AC;&#x153;In seeking a place from which to speak, to signify and recreate the self; â&#x20AC;&#x153;placeâ&#x20AC;? becomes the act of signifying itself.â&#x20AC;?(1995:  :KDWZHVHHZKHQPRYLQJZLWKWKHZRUNVDQGJURXSLQJWKHP WHUULWRULDOO\IURP,RZD0H[LFR&XED7RURQWRWR/RQJ,VODQGDQG Rome, is a palpable psycho-geography: works responding emotionally to place.

Ana Mendieta, Untilled, Silueta Series, Old Manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Creek, Iowa. 1967-78 Lifetime colour photograph. Estate of Ana Mendieta and Galerie Lelong, New York

In her appreciation of Mendieta Silueta series Irit Rogoff speaks of ´UHWHUULWRULDOL]DWLRQÂľDQGDSURFHVVRI´XQĂ&#x20AC;WWLQJLQDQHIIRUWWRĂ&#x20AC;QG new locations and new materials.â&#x20AC;? Taking inspiration from Derridaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s notions of the law of the land, and the Roman act of drawing a circle Rogoff sees â&#x20AC;&#x153;tangible traces of ownership and cultivation.â&#x20AC;?(2013) However, whilst I see Mendieta claimed ownership of her body, the essential temporary nature of her works in nature, whose existence rested entirely with nature and the nature of the materials, brings me WRUHMHFWWKLV$V&DEDxDV  VKRZVWKURXJKKHUUHVHDUFKRQ Santeria, shedding light on the idea of â&#x20AC;&#x153;monte adentroâ&#x20AC;? translating as 15


uncultivated land, as one central to working ritually outside, and to return to, or to go inside that space. Mendieta often returned to sites VKHIRXQGDIĂ&#x20AC;QLW\ZLWKDQGWKDWDOORZHGZRUNDQGLQUHWXUQLQJ the Siluetaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s became reworked, re-juvinated, re-ritualized, allowed multiple lives, but Mendieta never speaks of ownership. Nothing rests, movement is maintained, agency is given away and the works existed acutely, â&#x20AC;&#x153;on the level of being in nature and eventually being HURGHGDZD\Âľ$GULHQ+HDWKĂ&#x20AC;HOGVHHVLQWKH´UHSHDWHGPRPHQWRI returnâ&#x20AC;? an artist â&#x20AC;&#x153;(not) staking a claim, (on the land) but personifying itâ&#x20AC;? in an effort to present â&#x20AC;&#x153;a vision of human production as only one aspect of a living system.â&#x20AC;? (2013: 23-24)

*\OEHUW&RFNHUZULWLQJIRU0HQGLHWD¡VVRORH[KLELWLRQDW$,5VWDWHG â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mendieta wants the public to come upon her outdoor works as one comes upon nature.â&#x20AC;? (1979) In presenting these works Mendieta Ana Mendieta Late Works: 1981-85 Estate of Ana Mendieta and Galerie Lelong, New York

explored ways and means of activating such a response, printing images to scale and playing with the idea of placing the photographs o QWKHĂ RRUZKLFKFDQEHVHHQWROHDGWRKHUHYHQWXDOĂ RRUEDVHG works of Rome.

,PHHWDIULHQGE\FKDQFHLQWKHH[KLELWLRQ,¡PO\LQJRQWKHĂ RRU and we speak in the hushed tones suited to the environment, shared thoughts. He speaks of strangeness of the setting, of wanting the real, to see the work in-situ, wondering what remains. Romantically we WDNHWKDWOHDSWRLPDJLQHZKDWFRXOGEHIRXQGDQGIHOWRQĂ&#x20AC;QGLQJ Experienced in-situ, is it art, or an explicit love story? The ground be comes unsteady, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s frightening, and exciting. Performance remains can be some of the most emotionally powerful aspects of an action, 16


when the moment has gone and the site continues to be charged: retaining energy, speaking of action, and passing time. Remains generate questions and unique narratives, with the potential to become intensely personal experiences. In 1977, ZULWLQJIRUDVRORVKRZDWWKH*DOOHU\RI1HZ&RQFHSWVDWWKH8QL versity of Iowa, Mendieta expands this â&#x20AC;&#x153;perhaps my images can lead the audience to speculation based on their own experience, or what they might feel I have experienced. Their minds can be triggered so that the images I present retain some of the quality of the actual experience.â&#x20AC;?(Mendieta: 1977) By bringing a dynamic relationship to life through the triangulation of action, document, and audience, Mendieta often chose a single image from what was often durational, involving multiple works. The document was carefully made and chosen to represent and share. In this precision, what Mendieta gives is a just a hint, a souvenir, a glimpse at excess, essentially offering a fragmentary thus feminine way of sharing knowledge, meaning youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll never get the whole of the work.

)LQDOO\YLVLWLQJ&XEDLQDIWHUEHLQJDZDUGHG*XJJHQKHLPDQG 1($JUDQWVDQGRQLQYLWDWLRQIURPWKH&XEDQJRYHUQPHQW 0HQGLHWDZRUNHGRQKHUPRVWHQGXULQJVLWHVSHFLĂ&#x20AC;FZRUNWKH 5XSHVWULDQ6HULHV&DUYHGGLUHFWO\LQWRWKHOLPHVWRQHRI-DUXFR6WDWH Park in Havana, Mendieta completed a number of goddess forms. The emotional quality of these works is profoundly different from what has gone before. Referencing deities from a destroyed culture, WKHVHĂ&#x20AC;JXUHVLQOLPHVWRQHSUHVXSSRVHKHURZQDJHDQGLQGLYLGXDO Ana Mendieta, Itiba Cahubaba, Rupestrian

story, made in response to invitation, in a space of sanction, they carry Sculptures, Cuba, 1981. Estate of Ana Mendieta and Galerie Lelong, New York

a calm and graceful ambience. On making the trip, Mendieta said,

17


â&#x20AC;&#x153;I was afraid before I went there because I felt Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been living P\OLIHZLWKWKLVREVHVVLYHWKLQJLQP\PLQGZKDWLI,Ă&#x20AC;QGRXWLW has nothing to do with me? But the minute I got there, it was this whole thing of belonging again.â&#x20AC;?

In Aurora de Armendiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s project of 2012, â&#x20AC;&#x153;30 years laterâ&#x20AC;? the artist YLVLWV&XEDWRGRFXPHQWWKH5XSHVWULDQ6FXOSWXUHV0HQGLHWDFDUYHG in 1981. The natural processes of weathering have reclaimed the Ana Mendieta, Guanaroca, Rupestrian Sculptures, Cuba, 1981. http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/ opencollection/images/objects/ size3/CUR.2007.15.jpg 04.06.14

limestone and the sculptures are slowly being erased. Although just 30 years old, they have, through their disintegration, achieved the expression of the past Taino culture they represent. Subtly pointing back through time to monumental moments of history.

Mary Sabbatino, vice President of Galerie Lelong, speaks of the ZRUNVLQ&XEDDV´DOORZLQJ0HQGLHWDWRPDNHREMHFWVEHFDXVHVKH had made objects in her homeland.â&#x20AC;? (05.01.14), and her work Aurora de Armendi, Cueva del Aguila, Cave of the Eagle, Cuba. 2012. Colour Photograph from the Thirty Years Later Series.

FHUWDLQO\VKLIWV2QFHLQ5RPH0HQGLHWDLVHQWLUHO\XQURRWHG:LWK QR(XURSHDQKHULWDJHWRH[SORUHDQGZRUNLQJIRUWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWWLPHZLWKLQ DVWXGLRHQYLURQPHQW0HQGLHWDIRFXVHGRQĂ RRUEDVHGHDUWKZRUNV totems, and drawings. Exploring form and material and continuing her dialogue with nature, without being embedded in it, Mendieta FUHDWHGVFXOSWXUDOIRUPVWKDWKDGIRUWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWWLPHWKHGXUDWLRQRI traditional art objects.

,QSURSRVDOVPDGHIRUSXEOLFDUWSURMHFWVIRU&LW\$UWVLQDQG %DUG&ROOHJH0HQGLHWDSUHVHQWVKHUSUDFWLFH´DVDGLDORJXH between nature and the mythical female body, (that) has evolved dialectically in response to diverse landscapes as an emotional, 18


VH[XDOELRORJLFDODIĂ&#x20AC;UPDWLRQRIEHLQJÂľ 0HQGLHWD +LJKO\ YDOXLQJWKH´RSSRUWXQLW\IRUFUHDWLQJOLYLQJĂ RZHULQJVFXOSWXUHVLQ New York.â&#x20AC;? (Mendieta, 1982)

Out of Time By not being in the work, and using the Silueta as a both universal symbol and a substitute for self, Mendieta gained artistic freedom and FULWLFDOGLVWDQFH,DVNDJDLQ:KDWGRHVLWPHDQWRVHWDIHPDOHRQ Ă&#x20AC;UH"*XQSRZGHUĂ&#x20AC;UHZRUNVDQGRWKHUFRPEXVWLEOHPDWHULDOVDUH frequent methods of enacting change. She can be clothed in feathers or earth, she can lie upon a bleeding heart, and imprint stains, kiss corpses, but not totally dissolve, not burn.

To locate the meaning of El Yagula Mendieta explained, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The analogy was that I was covered by time and history.â&#x20AC;?(1995: 99) Importantly time and history are distinct materials, combining through a human need for narrative. As Irit notes her â&#x20AC;&#x153;minor gestures â&#x20AC;&#x153; can be read as DVRUWRI´VLWHVSHFLĂ&#x20AC;FDUFKDHRORJ\ÂľWKDW´SOD\HGKDYRFZLWKQRWLRQV of time and space.â&#x20AC;?(2013) And we can see again the progressive ideas of continental philosophy, where â&#x20AC;&#x153;the search for lost time becomes the catalyst for a different future.â&#x20AC;? (Rye Day Holmboe, 2013: 114) In giving away her body to the earth and a tangle of tiny blossoming ZLOGĂ RZHUV0HQGLHWDVSLULWXDOO\FRQQHFWVWRDSDVWDQGSUHVHQWVKHU IRUPDVDYLWDOVRXUFHOLIHJLYLQJOLIH$VZLWK*UDVVRQ:RPDQVKH blends but is not obscured, her presence is one of the multiple, dissolving as time expands to a cosmic oneness.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;My art is grounded in the belief of one universal energy which

Ana Mendieta, Imagen de Yagul, Silueta Series, Mexico 1973-1977. Lifetime colour photograph. Estate of Ana Mendieta and Galerie Lelong, New York

19


runs through everything; from insect to man, from man to spectre, from spectre to plant, from plant to galaxy. My works DUHLUULJDWLRQYHLQVRIWKLVXQLYHUVDOĂ XLGÂľ 0HQGLHWD

$VLGHIURPWKHZRUNVIURP5RPHDQGLQ&XEDWKHPDMRULW\RI 0HQGLHWD¡VZRUNH[LVWVDVGRFXPHQWV:RUNLQJLPPHGLDWHO\DQG ZLWKRQO\WHPSRUDU\H[LVWHQFHSKRWRJUDSKVDQGĂ&#x20AC;OPVZHUHWKHPDLQ medium of capture. As Rosalind Krauss (1977) has written the era Mendieta with an untitled wood sculpture, 1984. KWWSZZZKXIĂ&#x20AC;QJWRQSRVW com/2014/04/02/ana-mendieta_n_ 5071279.html?utm_hp_ref=arts&nci d=tweetlnkushpmg00000067 06.04.14

was one of indexing, of pointing to an event. Mendietaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pointing captures both process and distance, she points to â&#x20AC;&#x153;events whose materiality has escaped us.â&#x20AC;? (Steward, 1995: 170)

Mendietaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s use of the photograph has added to the heavy weight of her absence, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Its essence is absence. The absence of the human body, the absent culture, the absent moment that is only captured on paper as a photographic echo.â&#x20AC;? (Rosenthal, 2013: 18) At times there appears a morning for the momentary, â&#x20AC;&#x153;These performances and actions were never seen by a public nor did they remain. They disappeared, reappropriated by the landscape.â&#x20AC;? (Merewether, 1996: 115) And there is a sensation within her own writings that Mendieta was aware of this. In her plans to produce a book of photo etchings from the Rupestrian Sculpture Series with the written myths of the Tainan woven between the images, Mendieta hoped to resurrect one culture and inform another, writing, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Because of the impermanence of much of my earth/body sculptures it has created Ana Mendieta, CorazĂłn de roca con sangre, Ă&#x20AC;OPVWLOO PLQ  http://blog.uprising-art.com/cifo-collectioncisneros-pardo/ 06.04.14

misapprehensions.â&#x20AC;?(1996: 181)

Mendieta understanding of time was one of continual process, history 20


and cosmology were vital sources of strength and inspiration but she did not thirst for things past, repeatedly stating, â&#x20AC;&#x153;There is no original past to redeemâ&#x20AC;?, rather her interest lay in provoking new responses to now through immersion, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have thrown myself into the very elements that produced me.â&#x20AC;? And invoke wonder, a very human appreciation of the natural world. The ambition of shared experience is one than runs through many of her writing, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Perceptually, the works ` which emphasize natural process would in turn trigger a greater awareness of nature to the public. And spiritually the enjoyment and experience of nature would add brightness to people and daily life. â&#x20AC;&#x153; (Mendieta, 1996: 183)

Resolving Abjection â&#x20AC;&#x153;The time of abjection is double: a time of oblivion and thunder, of YHLOHGLQĂ&#x20AC;QLW\DQGWKHPRPHQWZKHQUHYHODWLRQEXUVWVIRUWKÂľ (Kristeva, 1982: 9)

Ana Mendieta. Alma Silueta en Fuego (Soul Silhouette on Fire), 1975. Lifetime colour photograph. Estate of Ana Mendieta and Galerie Lelong, New York

:HFDQEHUHFRQFLOHGWRWKHUHDGLQJDVDEMHFWLRQFRPHVIURPDVRFLDO ZRUOGZKLFKSODFHGGHĂ&#x20AC;QHGOLPLWVRQDFWVZRUGVDQGGHHGV 0HQGLHWDJLYHVLWEDFNUHĂ HFWHGWKURXJKDVXEOLPLQDOPLUURURI-HDQ &RFWHDXZLWKSOHDVXUHDQGWKHSRVVLELOLW\WRVOLSEHWZHHQHQIRUFHG HYHU\GD\QHVVLQWRDFRVPLFXQLW\LQFDQGHVFHQWDQGĂ HHWLQJWHDVLQJ the cracks, disregarding the boundaries, and emphasizing the ontological, and the pleasure found in playing within a Latourian â&#x20AC;&#x153;Parliament of Things.â&#x20AC;? If Abject is â&#x20AC;&#x153;something rejected from which one does not part...what disturbs identity, system, order. :KDWGRHVQRWUHVSHFWERUGHUVSRVLWLRQVUXOHV7KHLQEHWZHHQWKH ambiguous, the composite.â&#x20AC;? (Kristeva, 1982: 4) Then yes, Mendieta

Ana Mendieta. Untitled, Silueta Series, Iowa, 1980. Lifetime colour photograph. Estate of Ana Mendieta and Galerie Lelong, New York

21


is abject. Yet through being so, she embodied the openness of Eco, the becoming of Deleuze, lived Hegel’s Life of the Spirit, and existed in Heidegger’s ecstasis. A female scientist whose way of “being-in-the-world” was an affront. Politically active, Mendieta saw the dominant status quo, consumer culture and social structure of race/class/sex as a force that “pushes to paralyse social development... in an effort to have all of society identify with and Ana Mendieta. Untitled, Silueta Series, Iowa, 1977. Lifetime colour photograph. Estate of Ana Mendieta and Galerie Lelong, New York

serve their own interests” by raising the currency of a culture that idealises “ways of life and behaviours with a vision of social reality and history that causes conformism and submission.” (1982) Once again I can turn to Kristeva, “for abjection, when all is said and done, is the other facet of religious, moral, and ideological codes on which rest the sleep of individuals and the breathing spells of societies.” (1982: 209)

Her stance, her step outside, seemed to embrace the energy of the push and push it further, explore rupture, to connect to the fundamental nature of change.

The experience of this walk from has lead me along a timeline to timelessness. My eyes have felt fully globular, aware of their casing, the rim of sight. Notes written, circled and re-written, are almost indecipherable, but the act of writing entwines my own dialogue with Mendieta’s, to be recalled in a hynagogic echo. I’ve stood in-front of works with arms raised, and pressed my face into glass, and it seems time to conclude with a few words on my personal practice.

22


Bibliography Benthall, J & Polhemus, T eds. 1975, The Body as a Medium of Expression, London: Allen Lane %U\DQ:LOVRQ-+HDWKĂ&#x20AC;HOG$ 5RVHQWKDO6$QD0HQGLHWD7UDFHV London: Hayward Publishing Caillois, R 1938, Le Mythe et lâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Homme, Paris: Gallimard Deleuze, G & Guattari, F 1988, Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia trans. Massumi, B, London: Athlone Press Franke, A & Folie, S eds. 2012, Animism: Modernity Through the Looking Glass, Wein: Generali Foundation Guattari, F 2008, The Three Ecologies, London: Continuum Haraway, D J 1991, Simians, Cyborgs and Women : The Reinvention of Nature, London: Free Association Books Hegel, G W F 2003, The Phenomenology of Mind, trans. Baillie, J B, New York: Dover Publications; 2nd edition Jung, C G 1968, Psychology and Alchemy, trans. Hull, R F C, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul .D\H16LWH6SHFLĂ&#x20AC;F$UW3HUIRUPDQFH3ODFHDQG'RFXPHQWDWLRQ London: Routledge Krauss, R E 1981, Passages in Modern Sculpture, Cambridge, MS; London: MIT Press Kristeva, J. 1980 Powers of Horror : An Essay on Abjection trans. Leon S. Roudiez New York: Columbia University Press, 1982 Latour, B 1993, We Have Never Been Modern, trans. Porter, C, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press Latour, B & Weibel, P eds. 2002 Iconoclash, Cambridge, MS; London: MIT Press LĂŠvi-Strauss, C 1973, Triste Tropiques, trans. John & Doreen Weightman, London: Cape Mircea, E 1964, Myth and Reality, London: Allen & Unwin Mircea, E 1989, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, trans. Trask, W R London: Arkana(Penguin) Moure, G ed. 1996, Ana Mendieta, Barcelona: Ediciones Poligrafa Sina, A 2012, Feminine Futures: Performance, Dance, War, Politics And Eroticism, Paris: Presses du Reel

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Taussig, M 1993, Mimesis and Alterity : A Particular History of the Senses,

London: Routledge Taylor, B ed. 2006, Sculpture and Psychoanaylsis, Farnham: Ashgate Publishing de Zegher, C ed. 1995, Inside the Visible: An Elliptical Traverse of 20th Century Art in, of, and from the Feminine, Le Praz-de-Lys en Haute-Savoie: Les Editions le Chambre Zepke, S & O’Sullivan, S eds. 2010 Deleuze and Contemporary Art Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press Exhibitions Hopkins, D After Image: Simryn Gill, Ana Mendieta, Cindy Sherman and Francesca Woodman 2003, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, UK Ana Mendieta: Traces 2013, Hayward Gallery, London, UK Coker, G. Ana Mendieta 1979 A.I.R Gallery, New York, USA Journals Cabañas, K M 1999, ‘Pain of Cuba, Body I am’ Woman’s Art Journal vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 12-17 Holmboe, R D ‘If not Now, When? The Question of the Future in Continental Philosophy’ The White Review vol. 4, pp. 114 Krauss, R 1977, ‘Notes on the Index: Seventies Art in America’ October vol. 3, pp. 68-81 Mendieta, A 1987, ‘untitled’ Heresies vol. 5, pp. 69 Artist Writings Proposal for Cityarts, 1982 Proposal for Public Art Project, 1984 The Estate of AM Collection, Galeries Lelong, New York, Paris Online Resources Armendi, A 05.01.14 http://www.auroradearmendi.com/index.php?/exhibitions/mendietas-rupestrian-sculptures/ Sabbatino, M 05.01.14 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbYFjJomZag Warner, M The Writing of Stones 05.10.14 http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/ issues/29/warner.php Talks Irit Rogoff on Ana Mendieta, Royal Festival Hall, London. 04.11.13

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A physical researcher approaches .. Re-pulse