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Sunday, 25 May 2014

Mendieta's territories

Been to Mendieta's retrospective in the Der Moderne in Salzburg. The exhibition presents most of her phases and is successful in making her stuff dialogue with a collection of Viennese actionism in another floor. The contrast is interesting because while most of the actionist work (including the amazing stuff of Valie Export and Peter Weibel, and the inspiring stuff of Herman Nitsch) has a ring of body art that attempts to flee from bodily constraints, Mendieta's stuff seems to be always negotiating with the hidden territorial demands of the body. It is as if she is looking for a territory in the most veiled chambers of the body and the earth. It is a reterritorializing attempt, even if the underground of the territory has to be captured by excavating layers and layers of imaginals. Anarcheology, ananatomy, the hurry for origins, for the quale of groundedness. She is constantly looking down, and making up a territory that was not and could not be given. I think the contrast between her and other body artists show the opposition between looking at the carnality of geology while expecting to move away and embracing it even without knowing what the Earth thinks she is. Mendieta is not doing modern body art, she is looking for a way not to unbody but to recreate a body dust by dust. The contrast is perhaps the one between Latour's two verbs, "moderniser" and "ecologiser", if the last one is to be understood as a redesign, a redesign made by those who aim to stay.

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