It seems a bitter irony that Ana Mendieta, whose main body of work is composed of imprints of her body in natural settings, left her final imprint in New York, when she mysteriously fell from a 34-storey building at the age of 36, just as her work was becoming recognised outside the rarefied world of feminist art criticism. The genesis of her work has been linked to her turbulent upbringing, as she was transported from Castro’s Cuba at age eleven to an orphanage in Iowa.
Her art is concerned with the Palaeolithic, to use her own word; with primitive and organic origins; and also with issues of identity and gender. Fitting into no particular movement of the 1970s or 1980s, and usually of an impermanent nature, her well-recorded output is certainly unique, and is only now being reappraised as pioneering. Perhaps I am too thoroughly urbanised and technologized to fully appreciate the hippy-trippy aspect of her work, which seems rather dated, but her exhibition certainly leaves a psychic impression of sorts in its wake.
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