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Ana Mendieta in Exile: Selected Films

Ana Mendieta in Exile: Selected Films

Providing a broader context for Ana Mendieta’s Silueta photograph held in the Johnson Museum’s permanent collection, this program of three films presents a rare glimpse into her filmic work. One of the most fascinating artists of the 1970s and early ’80s, Ana Mendieta (American, born Cuba, 1948–1985), who from the age of thirteen lived in exile from her Cuban homeland, used her body to explore issues of displacement, identity, and diaspora through performance, photography, and film. Despite a burgeoning appreciation of her work, the nearly eighty short films Mendieta produced remain largely unknown to the public.

The films from her Silueta series capture the ephemeral, “earth-body” sculptures the artist made in Iowa and Mexico between 1973 and 1980. Shot on lushly pigmented Super 8, the films allow viewers to intimately experience Mendieta’s enigmatic and personal interventions years after she inscribed her silhouette into the landscape, and offer a fresh lens to revisit contemporaneous earthworks by Robert Smithson, Walter de Maria, Michael Heizer, and Nancy Holt.

Broadly subversive and intimately moving, these films participate in the feminist and earthworks movements of their time and bring to the Johnson an opportunity to observe Ana Mendieta’s groundbreaking interactions with the earth—quiet yet powerful, fleeting yet sustained.

This series was curated by Margo Cohen Ristorucci, Class of 2013, and Hannah Ryan, PhD student, with Andrea Inselmann, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art & Photography at the Johnson Museum.

Screening schedule

Saturday, February 2 – Sunday, February 24
Alma Silueta en Fuego (Silueta de Cenizas)
, 1975
3:07 min., looped

Tuesday, February 26 – Sunday, March 10
Untitled
(Grass breathing), ca. 1974
3:08 min., looped

Tuesday, March 12 – Sunday, March 24
Untitled
(Burial pyramid), 1974
3:15 min., looped

Tuesday, March 26 – Sunday, April 7
Alma Silueta en Fuego (Silueta de Cenizas)
, 1975
3:07 min., looped

Tuesday, April 9 – Sunday, April 21
Untitled
(Grass breathing), ca. 1974
3:08 min., looped

Tuesday, April 23 – Sunday, May 5
Untitled
(Burial pyramid), 1974
3:15 min., looped

Super 8 films (color, silent) transferred to DVD

Films and stills © The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection, courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York