A quick trip up to London yesterday found me winding my way through the throngs of the Southbank to see the Ana Mendieta exhibition Traces at The Hayward Gallery London. This comprehensive show of Mendieta’s work includes film, documentary photographs, drawings and sculptures. Her early works are fascinating, experimental, brave and varied using her own body to explore the boundaries between absence and presence, a common thread of many of the women artists that I admire.
Sadly she fell out of a New York apartment window when only 37 years old…another early death. By this time she had begun to gain some recognition for her work developing her Siluetos, imprints of her body in nature. The show leaves one feeling that for a short time before her death her work had got rather stuck in a groove. Perhaps the exhibition gives too much space to not much, not quite enough culling and cutting which is a shame. Had she lived would she have succumbed to the wiles and charms of success or pushed her work to break further boundaries? We will never know of course but at least we have the privilege of her legacy.
As my intervention at the local museum draws to a close I am pleased (after some initial reeling from the punches) that it has been causing some controversy. Ruffling feathers and stirring up some strong(ish) feelings from the dusty depths, my wrapped cups and saucers apparently causing offense! I amuse myself by wondering what they would have thought of one of Mendieta’s Siluetos hanging in ‘their’ window!