Gallery 101 proudly presents: Finding Ana
Solo exhibition by Elise Rasmussen
January 4 – February 8, 2014
Opening, premier screening of Variations and roundtable discussion Saturday January 4 from 2 – 5pm
Finding Ana investigates the complexities of Ana Mendieta’s personal and professional life. The project locates lost works of Mendieta and offers a discourse on the cross-over between biography and practice of an artist and the varying strata and positions of power within the art world. In 1981, Ana Mendieta returned to her native Cuba where she created the “Rupestrian Sculptures,” a series of carvings in the caves of Jaruco Park. These works confronted her anxieties of separation from her culture of origin and concluded the series of identity-based works for which she is best known. According to the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Ludwig Foundation in Havana, Ana’s sculptures were destroyed. In 2012 Rasmussen traveled to Cuba in an attempt to locate the site of these lost works, finding not only the remote caves but the sculptures themselves still in tact. Her photographs document this discovery while asserting herself in Ana’s narrative.
Finding Ana raises questions of what has been reported about Mendieta, her work and her untimely death. Variations is a single channel video exploring the final hours of Ana’s life. Mendieta died on September 8, 1985 by falling out of the 34th story window of the apartment she shared with her husband, the artist Carl Andre. Andre, tried and acquitted of murder, remains the only living witness to the events of that night. In Variations, Rasmussen directs two actors as they workshop three scenes based on conflicting statements made by Andre as to the events of that night. Through improvisation and audience participation they attempt to find a plausible scenario for Mendieta's death while considering implications of what is at stake when revising and re-enacting history. For the round table discussion we will discuss why this history is important now. Threads of discussion will address the continued disproportionate representation of women in art institutions, the documentary image as art object and issues of defining authorship. Elise Rasmussen and writer Clara Halpern will participate in the discussion.
Elise Rasmussen received her BFA from Ryerson University (2004) and her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2007) as a Merit Scholar. Elise has had solo shows at the Elizabeth Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum (NY), Agape Enterprise (NY), Night Gallery (LA), AC Institute (NY) and ESP (Toronto). She has exhibited in group shows at the CCS Bard Hessel Museum (Annandale-on-Hudson), Galerie Articule (Montreal), Standpoint Gallery (London), Mulherin Pollard Projects (New York), Werkschauhalle Gallery (Leipzig), the Chicago Cultural Center (Chicago), Gallery 400 (Chicago) and ThreeWalls Gallery (Chicago).
The artist wishes to gratefully acknowledge the support of the Canada Council For the Arts for this project.
Clara Halpern is a curator and writer based in New York and Toronto, who received an MA from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. She has been a visiting critic at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture and Hunter College’s MFA program, and was part of the team for Sarah Sze's "Triple Point" at the U.S. Pavilion of the 2013 Venice Biennale. Recently, she was a Critical Writing Fellow at Recess and she is a regular contributor to Modern Painters.