Ana Mendieta, ‘Untitled (from the Silueta series)’, 1973-1977, MCA Chicago

Unbound: Contemporary Art After Frida Kahlo, MCA Chicago, May 3 - October 5, 2014.

Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift from The Howard and Donna Stone Collection.

About Ana Mendieta

An influential artist best known for her “earth-body” performances, as she called them, Ana Mendieta explored her identity as a female emigrant in work that also encompassed photography, film, and sculpture. Exiled from Cuba at the age of 12 and sent to an orphanage in Iowa, Mendieta used the earth as a site to address issues of displacement, impressing her body in various outdoor locations and recording its imprint in photographs and video. In these Silueta works, performed from 1973–77, she would often fill in the silhouette of her body with materials including rocks, twigs, flowers, and blood, combining a concern with primal rituals and a modern, feminist sensibility. Mendieta wanted to invoke the “magic, knowledge, and power of primitive art…to express the immediacy of life and the eternity of nature,” as she once said. In other works she smeared herself with blood, or used it to trace her outline. She tragically died, aged 36, in New York when she fell from her 34th-floor apartment window; her husband, the artist Carl Andre, was acquitted of her murder.

American, Cuban b., 1948-1985, Havana, Cuba, based in New York, New York