Ana Mendieta Siluetas

The Toronto International Film Festival’s Wavelengths programme and Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival are honoured to present a rare exhibition of films and photographs by multidisciplinary Cuban-born artist Ana Mendieta (1948-1985). Though her work was variously associated with a number of artistic movements (particularly Land art and Feminist art), Mendieta’s radical, boldly political practice — whether in photography, performance, film, drawing, sculpture, mixed media and site-specific installation — is ultimately uncategorizable and distinctly her own.

The recent resurfacing and restoration of Mendieta’s films and videos has cast a new light upon her work, particularly the unique hybrid of form and documentation that she called “siluetas“: fugitive, potent inscriptions of the artist’s body into the landscape, which are then transformed by fire, water, and other natural materials. This exhibition includes six landmark films (five from the Silueta series) and two related photographic series (Volcán, shot in Iowa, and Untitled: Silueta Series, shot in Salina Cruz, Mexico) that attest to Mendieta’s cohesive and continuous inquiry into themes of the female body, violence, primal energy, and displacement, and which harbour tremendous power both individually and collectively.

The exhibition also features Ana Mendieta, Nature Inside, an intimate and insightful documentary by Raquel Cecilia. Using a wide variety of archival images, film excerpts and Ana Mendieta’s own commentary, the film illuminates the artist’s exceptional breadth and her work’s main themes and meanings. – Andréa Picard

Image and artworks: courtesy of the Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection, LLC and Galerie Lelong, New York

Ana Mendieta was born in Havana, Cuba in 1948 and died in New York City in 1985. In her brief yet prolific career she created groundbreaking work in photography, performance, film, drawing, sculpture, mixed media, and site-specific installations. Her works are found in over thirty public collections worldwide, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Tate Gallery, London; and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.