Thursday, 3 October 2013

Review of Ana Mendieta: Traces at the Hayward Gallery

Ana Mendieta: Traces
Hayward Gallery
Southbank Centre
24 September – 15 December 2013

Despite leaving behind an archive of over 1000 slides and 60 films, as well as myriad drawings and sculptures, Ana Mendieta’s name sadly usually only crops up in relation to the tragic and untimely – not to mention suspicious – circumstances of her death. 

In 1985, aged just 36, when she fell from a window of the 34th floor apartment that she shared with her artist husband, Carl Andre, whom she’d married less than eight months previously. Given the tempestuous nature of their relationship, exacerbated by her growing success, many believe she was pushed. Andre was charged with her murder but acquitted after the third trial. The suggestion of suicide has been dismissed as unthinkable by her family and friends, but many critics have, regardless, analysed her work, in particular her Silueta series, as a rehearsal for death: uncannily, the way in which she fell on to the roof of the delicatessen below mirrors the outlined silhouette shape, with one arm raised in a stylised pose reminiscent of the Great Goddess, of so much of her work. 

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