Ecofeminism: Ecological and Feminist Concerns

The artist Maria Adele del Vecchio, talks about Ana Mendieta's work

By La Galleria Nazionale

Untitled (burial pyramid)La Galleria Nazionale

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Untitled (Burial Pyramid) is a performance by Ana Mendieta from 1974, documented by the five colour photographic plates that belong to the collection of the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rome.

They show Mendieta lying down and covered with stones, reminiscent of a burial, next to an ancient Mexican temple, an exemplar representation of the research and poetics of the Cuban artist.

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Ana Mendieta was born in Cuba in 1948 and in 1961, as part of an anti-Castro program – Operation Peter Pan – she was brought to the United States alongside her sister Raqueline and fourteen thousand other children.

There she initially lived in orphanages and adoptive families. This fact was of the utmost significance in Ana Mendieta's growth as a person and artist, making her feel as if she had been ripped from her mother's womb.

And as she appears in Untitled (Burial Pyramid), Ana Mendieta chose to belong to the land and the landscape, in her performances and across all her siluetas.

Untitled (burial pyramid)La Galleria Nazionale

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This is a cycle of works that began in 1973 and continued until 1980, first by implanting her body into natural environments, then recalling it – the body – through the creation of silhouettes made of blood, earth, mud, flowers, feathers, ice, gunpowder, shells, coconuts, grass, and all elements and anything else organic that allowed her to make her plea of returning to nature, but not as a human body that expires and ends, but as a woman's body, which in unison with Mother Earth belongs to the cycles of life, death, rebirth, and helps determine them.

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Ana Mendieta, as occurs with Ecofeminism, has managed to describe how mysterious and fertile and essential the relationship between woman and nature is, overturning the patriarchal assumption that the feminine is natural - instinctual, inferior to male knowledge.

Untitled (burial pyramid)La Galleria Nazionale

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To me it seems that Mendieta has constantly declared something that resembles a cry, something that could be shouting

“and yet I exist. I have existed since ancient times. I exist as a womb, as a cure, as life and I exist as death. I exist before and beyond time, I exist in the becoming of natural matter, in its corruption and regeneration”.

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Every so often humanity’s history grants us miraculous figures, capable of restoring the indispensable connections between minerals and stars, therefore between our earthly existence and the whole which we are a part of.

Ana Mendieta, who died mysteriously in 1985, falling from the thirty-fourth floor of the building she lived in New York, and thus died soaring away, is in every respect one of these miraculous figures. A woman.

Credits: Story

Voice message by Maria Adele Del Vecchio, artist.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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