Paper Title

Rebellion and Transformation in the Films of Ana Mendietta

Location

Room 220, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

Start Date

April 2016

End Date

April 2016

Keywords

film, female authorship, female aesthetic, body as text

Abstract

In Isak Dinesen’s “The Blank Page,” an old woman instructs a young couple: “Where the story-teller is . . . loyal to the story, there, in the end, silence will speak.” To illustrate, she narrates the story of the princess’s wedding night linen/sheet. Framed and displayed in a Carmelite convent for all to see, the sheet remains blank, instead of containing the blood of royal as all the other sheets do as proof of her virginity. Her story contains multiple possibilities of meanings: the princess was not a virgin on her wedding night; she refused to have sexual intercourse with her husband; or she ran away to avoid her nuptials and the prison of marriage. The common thread is rebellion and subversion. This singular princess did not permit the culture to “write” its patriarchal meaning on her sheet/body/text.

“In “The Blank Page and Issues of Female Creativity,” Susan Gubar uses Dinesen’s story to explore the problematic of female authorship within an historically patriarchal tradition that privileges men as artists and authors, while women are the “text” upon which male artists and authors write. Instead of being the creator, “she is an art object; she is the ivory carving or mud replica, an icon or doll, but she is not the sculptor” (293). This tradition has shaped the woman artist’s “attitudes toward her physicality” and “shape the metaphors through which she imagines her creativity (295).” Because of this inheritance, for the woman artist there is no distance between her art and her body: her art is an extension of her body” (296).

The art exhibit, “Covered in Time and History: The films of Ana Mendieta,” demonstrates the currency of Gubar’s literary theory. The Cuban-American performance artist, sculptor, painter and video artist, Ana Mendietta (1948-1985) created Super-8 films “that document her ritualistic body performances and earth-body sculptures” (“Electronic Art Intermix”). She documents her search for her primal relationship with the earth and her “mother”—nature. By immersing herself in her “body” with no aesthetic distance between her art and function as artist, she rebels against historical male ownership/authorship of women and forges a unique artistic and feminist identity.

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Apr 2nd, 3:15 PM Apr 2nd, 4:45 PM

Rebellion and Transformation in the Films of Ana Mendietta

Room 220, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

In Isak Dinesen’s “The Blank Page,” an old woman instructs a young couple: “Where the story-teller is . . . loyal to the story, there, in the end, silence will speak.” To illustrate, she narrates the story of the princess’s wedding night linen/sheet. Framed and displayed in a Carmelite convent for all to see, the sheet remains blank, instead of containing the blood of royal as all the other sheets do as proof of her virginity. Her story contains multiple possibilities of meanings: the princess was not a virgin on her wedding night; she refused to have sexual intercourse with her husband; or she ran away to avoid her nuptials and the prison of marriage. The common thread is rebellion and subversion. This singular princess did not permit the culture to “write” its patriarchal meaning on her sheet/body/text.

“In “The Blank Page and Issues of Female Creativity,” Susan Gubar uses Dinesen’s story to explore the problematic of female authorship within an historically patriarchal tradition that privileges men as artists and authors, while women are the “text” upon which male artists and authors write. Instead of being the creator, “she is an art object; she is the ivory carving or mud replica, an icon or doll, but she is not the sculptor” (293). This tradition has shaped the woman artist’s “attitudes toward her physicality” and “shape the metaphors through which she imagines her creativity (295).” Because of this inheritance, for the woman artist there is no distance between her art and her body: her art is an extension of her body” (296).

The art exhibit, “Covered in Time and History: The films of Ana Mendieta,” demonstrates the currency of Gubar’s literary theory. The Cuban-American performance artist, sculptor, painter and video artist, Ana Mendietta (1948-1985) created Super-8 films “that document her ritualistic body performances and earth-body sculptures” (“Electronic Art Intermix”). She documents her search for her primal relationship with the earth and her “mother”—nature. By immersing herself in her “body” with no aesthetic distance between her art and function as artist, she rebels against historical male ownership/authorship of women and forges a unique artistic and feminist identity.