Performance artist Ana Mendieta's famous earth-body work is about to grace the frames of Jeu de Paume, Paris, in the show Ana Mendieta: Le temps et l'histoire me recouvrent on 16 October. Exhibition curator Howard Oransky told Lomography Magazine that the gallery's been one of the world's leading art institutions that research about mechanical and electronic artforms, including photography and film, which are parts of Mendieta's oeuvre.
The Cuban-American artist is most famous for her Silueta Series, which involved Mendieta creating silhouettes of the female form against mud, sand, grass, with nature's debris scattered to outline the forms. The films and photographs from Siluetas are actually documentation of her ‘earth-body’ sculptures. There's also her photo etchings in Rupestrian Sculptures, a series where she acts as the photographer to capture her ‘sculptures’. Overall, Jeu de Paume added that Mendieta was posing a question regarding the human being's origin and how it connects to the soul.
Moreover, Oransky shared to Lomography Magazine the gallery's intention to promote more of the experimental and unique aspects of photography and film, which Mendieta's works are part of, through research:
“Their (Jeu de Paume) artistic and educational mission provides the ideal context for the presentation of this exhibition, which is the first exhibition that is devoted to Ana Mendieta’s moving image practice. The goals of this exhibition are to make known the totality of Mendieta’s work in the filmic medium and to recalibrate the location of that work from the periphery to the center of her artistic oeuvre. I can’t imagine a more appropriate home for this exhibition than the Jeu de Paume.”
Oransky then proceeded that her earth-body sculptures were unique and way ahead of its time, and has inspired prolific contemporary artists such as Hong Kong-based Zheng Bo, Through the exhibition, Mendieta's role as an inspiration for current and future female artists will more than ever be heightened:
“Our research has shown that among the visual artists of her generation that began incorporating film/video into their practice, Mendieta was both intensely creative and amazingly productive. In one year – at the age of 26 -- she made 19 films, at the same time that she was working in sculpture, drawing, performance, and photography... More broadly, as an artist, she was absolutely dedicated to her art and her artistic vision, and her artistic voice encompassed the full range of human expression. Born in Havana, Cuba and sent to the United States at the age of 12, she distilled the complex questions of history and identity in ways that are immediately accessible to a wide diversity of audiences. Mendieta’s art has been, and forever will be, an inspiration to female artists everywhere..”
In this particular exhibition, four elements will be highlighted — earth, water, air, and fire. The photographs will be up until 27 January 2019.
Images are from the press kit.