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Ana Mendieta: Silueta Sangrienta

January 23, 2024 Through May 26, 2024

In the Gump Family Gallery


Ana Mendieta (Cuban, 1948-1985), Silueta Sangrienta, 1975 (flim still)
Photo Credit: 

© The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection, LLC. Courtesy Galerie Lelong.

This single-work installation presents Silueta Sangrienta, a short film that opens with the artist lying nude, facing upward on the earth’s surface. Her body disappears to reveal a silhouette carved into the muddy surface below, which is then filled with a vibrant red liquid. The title of the film translates to “Bloody Silhouette” in Spanish. The work is part of Mendieta’s Silueta series (begun in 1973), for which the artist constructed over 200 “earth-body” sculptures in Iowa City and Mexico. Mendieta would often construct these silhouettes by imprinting the shape of her body into the ground or covering herself with natural materials.

Mendieta described her art as a response to the violent displacement from her homeland. In 1961, at 14 years old, Mendieta was separated from her family and exiled from Cuba under Operation Peter Pan (Operación Pedro Pan). She spent the rest of her childhood in orphanages and foster homes in Iowa. This film, which juxtaposes prone positions of the female body with crimson-colored liquid and the natural beauty of the earth, invites the viewer to consider relationships between femininity, race, violence, displacement, reunification, and spirituality.

This exhibition is made possible by the Susan B. Weatherbie Exhibition Fund

Image: Still from Ana Mendieta (American, born Cuba, 1948–1985), Silueta Sangrienta, 1975, Super 8-mm film transferred to high-definition digital media, color, silent Duration: 1 min 51 sec, Purchase with the Art Acquisition Endowment Fund in partnership with the New Media Arts Consortium, a collaboration of the art museums at Bowdoin College, Brandeis University, Colby College, Middlebury College, Mount Holyoke College, and Skidmore College, 2017.20