Written after watching ‘Body of Work’ by Motion Manual http://www.motionmanual.com/eng/ ( at Theatre in the Mill).
It’s not every time I see a performance that I want go home find everything out about an artist featured, but Body of Work which was inspired by Ana Mendieta did that. In this performance the female body is a vehicle for and receiver of violence, skin is pressed so close to panes of glass so that the contours of the flesh become exaggerated, images are projected on bodies and rose petals resemble blood. It made me want to spend all the money I do not have on over priced art books.
As I am told the story of Ana’s death I think of Mia Zapata, the lead singer of the rad punk band The Gits who was raped, beaten and strangled to death in Seattle 1993. She was 27-year-old.
On September the 8th 1985 Ana Mendieta fell from the 34th floor of an apartment in New York, her husband, renowned artist Carl Andre was tried for her murder and acquitted.
I’m not sure exactly why I made this particular connection: maybe it was just that at this moment sat in a darkened theatre, with a 101 day to day worries rolling round my head, it became exceptionally clear, that being an amazing talented and visionary artist does not exempt you from the day to day dangers of violence which women in our society experience. And it is in these moments, when the brutality of power and abuse intrude into the almost fictionalised narratives of our feminist heroines, that I realise, really truly realise, there can be no distinction between art and life, personal and political.