Ana Mendieta: Criticism, Liturgy and Experimentation in Cinema

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In “Ana Mendieta: Criticism, Liturgy and Experimentation in Cinema” (translated by Brenda Sheehan) Gerardo Mosquera reviews the exhibition Ana Mendieta: “Experimental and Interactive Films,” which was on view from February 5 through March 26 at Galerie Lelong (528 West 26th Street, Chelsea, New York). As Mosquera points out, the exhibition includes 15 videos, 9 of which were unpublished. Here are excerpts of his review (Cuba Now, 6 February 2016).

[. . .] Under the title Experimental and Interactive Films, the exhibition presents a selection of the prolific video-creative work of the designer, who made over one hundred film works during her career. [. . .] Galerie Lelong, which since 1991 represents the Estate of Ana Mendieta, intends to present in this exhibition, the tenth entirely dedicated to the artist, the technical innovations and unique approach of Mendieta to cinema, a less known aspect of her aesthetic production. [. . .]

Ana Mendieta’s interest in experimentation in cinema is evident from her early works. One of her most important innovations was the use of a Cinefluorography unit to create an x-ray film that has as its focus the inner movement of her skull (Rayos X, 1975). Another interesting example is the work Butterfly (1975) which incorporates a video processor of 16 channels to add polarization effects and high contrasts to images.

In addition to the desire to transgress the traditional use of cinema, the interest of Ana Mendieta for video art it is not exempt from obvious concerns in the rest of her creative work. Her concerns on issues such as violence (Moffitt Building Piece, 1973), memory, reproductive return, cultural rupture and loss of continuity with the past (Mirage, 1974) are shown on the screen.

The spiritual and physical relationship of the artist with nature, one of the discursive constants in the work of Mendieta, can also be seen in the stills of her film works (Volcán, 1979), in which she also reintroduces the leitmotiv of the mythological tree of life (Energy Charge, 1975) and expresses her way of understanding art as a ritual, as a mystical act and as liturgy (Untitled: Silhouette Series, 1978). [. . .]

For full review, see http://www.cubanow.net/articles/ana-mendieta-criticism-liturgy-and-experimentation-cinema

[Photo above: Ana Mendieta’s “Sweating Blood” (1973), Courtesy Galerie Lelong.]

Also see other reviews at https://news.artnet.com/people/ana-mendieta-film-work-niece-video-458435 and http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/25/arts/design/review-ana-mendietas-experimental-films-still-potent-at-galerie-lelong.html?_r=0

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