Bookended by two seminal films from the extraordinary multidisciplinary artist Ana Mendieta, this programme excavates political and personal histories as it reinvigorates the surreal potential of landscape. With films by Ana Vaz, Antoinette Zwirchmayr, Laida Lertxundi, Madi Piller, Kathryn McInnis, and Helena Girón & Samuel Delgado.
Wavelengths is thrilled to bookend this year's opening programme with films by Cuban-born artist Ana Mendieta (1948–85), whose boldly political multidisciplinary practice is as urgent and influential today as it was during her lifetime. An elemental film of flesh, blood, earth, and water, Silueta Sangrienta depicts the artist's reposing body on the ground, its trick disappearance, and crimson-coloured liquid filling its indent before Mendieta's prone figure returns. In Anima, Silueta de Cohetes (Firework Piece), the artist's silhouetted form is replicated as an effigy with blazing fireworks, the flickering embers gradually extinguishing until there is but a single spark left to stave off total darkness.
In Há Terra!, Ana Vaz stages a hunt and subverts ethnographic tendencies in order to exhume a history of survival and political resistance in the Brazilian badlands — a history that persists in regional land claims today. The recurring, booming voice "There is land!" leads us to ponder not only who is hunted and who is hunting, but whose land this really is. Antoinette Zwirchmayr's dreamlike Venus Delta offers a precisely composed and somewhat eerie miniature of jagged rock formations, a crystalline water stream, and the form of a woman suggested by smooth skin and a voluminous, crimped mane.
Laida Lertxundi continues her exploration of the American West with the intimately scaled 025 Sunset Red, which folds in autobiography as she looks back to her parents' radical activism in Spain. The colour red — whether in communist insignia, menstrual blood, or the industrial lighting gel that supplies the film with its title — becomes a leitmotif in this work that ultimately questions the conditions of its own making. Evincing formal echoes of Bruce Baillie, Madi Piller's Untitled, 1925 is an experimental travelogue that traces the voyage of the filmmaker's grandfather through the highlands of Peru.
An impressive flicker animation comprised of Time magazine photographs, Kathryn McInnis' Children of Lir combines an Irish tale of children set adrift as swans and the tragic poisoning of water in Flint and other American communities. Helena Girón and Samuel M. Delgado's Burning mountains that spew flame takes a mysterious voyage down into the depths of one of the longest volcanic tunnels in Europe in order to excavate an idiosyncratic history of resistance.
Wavelengths is pleased to present the exhibition Ana Mendieta: Siluetas at CONTACT Gallery.
Special thanks to Galerie Lelong, New York, and the Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection, LLC.
For artist bios, please visit tiff.net/wavelengths.
This programme is rated PG.