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Birth (Gunpowder Works)

© The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection, L.L.C.

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection, L.L.C.

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

Ana Mendieta

American, born Cuba, 1948-1985

Birth (Gunpowder Works), 1981

Super-8mm film transferred to high-definition digital media, black and white, silent

Edition: 1/6

running time: 2 minutes, 59 seconds

Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

Mrs. Charles G. Duffy, Jr. Fund, George B. and Jenny R. Mathews Fund, Fellows for Life Fund, by exchange, Albert H. Tracy Fund, Dr. & Mrs. Clayton Peimer Fund, Charlotte A. Watson Fund and Irene Pirson MacDonald Fund, 2014

2014:5.2

More Details

Inscriptions

no inscriptions

Provenance

estate of the artist;
Galerie Lelong, New York;
sold to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, May 20, 2014

Class

Motion pictures (visual works)

Work Type

Artist's film

This information may change due to ongoing research. Glossary of Terms

Birth shows a sculpture Ana Mendieta made of mounded mud in shallow water. It is decidedly feminine in its configuration and reminiscent of The Woman of Willendorf, ca. 28,000–25,000 BCE, one of the earliest known sculptural representations of the human body. In the video, the sculptural form suddenly begins to combust, with smoke violently erupting from the vaginal form in the middle of the sculpture; the smoke gradually dissipates, leaving behind the blackened earth. Mendieta firmly believed in the power of nature, stating, “My art is grounded in the belief of one universal energy which runs through everything: from insect to man, from man to specter, from specter to plant, from plant to galaxy. My works are the irrigation veins of this universal fluid. Through them ascend the ancestral sap, the original beliefs, the primordial accumulations, the unconscious thoughts that animate the world.”

Label from One Another: Spiderlike, I Spin Mirrors, March 7–June 1, 2014

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