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The mysterious circumstances of how artist Ana Mendiata fell 34 floors to her death in 1985 remains an enigma to this day, and the resonating legacy of work left behind is just as haunting. Previously self-described as "earth-body" art, Cuban-born Mendiata would, through the course of her artistic career, dabble in everything from performance art to sculpting; all characteristed by moody concepts laced in ritualistic tellings. Predominantly autobiographical, Mendiata's subversive work regularly assailed ideals of the human form, focusing on its spiritual and physical interaction with nature – all whilst toying with notions of gender and violence. Signature self-portraiture recalls Mendiata posed stark-naked mud-camouflaged against a tree. Alternatively Mendiata (again naked) feathered head-to-toe, in hunched stance scowling at the camera. Mendiata smearing blood against a wall. A controlled aggression was evident in Mendiata's work, but beautiful nevertheless.
Ana Mendiata's exhibition Traces is currently held at Hayward Gallery Southbank Centre, 24 September – 15 December 2013