Tribute to Ana Mendieta

Title: Tribute to Ana Mendieta
Conception year: 1985
Implementation years: 1986-1996
Medium: Re-creation of works
Duration: Long-Term project
Materials: Ana Mendieta’s artworks and unrealized projects, lectures, exhibitions, interviews, texts


Homenaje a Ana Mendieta(Tribute to Ana Mendieta 1985-1996) is a site-specific piece in which Tania Bruguera redoes objects and performances created by Ana Mendieta, an artist who carried out her artistic career in the United States after her migration in her early adolescence. The first attempts at developing her political-timing specific1concept are to be found here. The appropriation, reconstruction and re-exhibition of Ana Mendieta’s pieces in the Cuban context stem from the idea of art as a cultural, sociological not merely artistic gesture, with the intention of relocating the figure of this artist in the history of Cuban culture and collective imaginary as a representative of Cuban culture. This project was made during the years of massive migration of the Cuban population in general2and, specifically in the sector of culture, of the so-called “generation of the ‘80s.”3 .  The official policy on migration at the time was silenced by the media and the official culture because of its political impact. This is why Bruguera’s first gesture approaches the notions of political art and the confrontation with structures of authority.

Tribute to Ana Mendieta4 is a piece interested in creating an art that uses codes of disciplines like History of Art and Archeology. It was made through a research and rescue process visualized through the repetition of pieces that had already been exhibited or outlined and that were remade taking into account the characteristics of the new context.

1See Glossary Tab. 

2At the intensification of the economic crisis in the country, affected by international events like the collapse of the socialist field which subsidized Cuba from an economic point of view, there was a massive exodus of Cubans mainly to the United States. The exodus took the form of illegal exits from Cuba with the use of precarious rafts and non-conventional means of sea transportation. The most dramatic and meaningful event took place in August 1994 when the Cuban president, Fidel Castro, at the increase of illegal sea exits, announced at a speech that from thereon border guards would be withdrawn from the Cuban coasts and every person who wanted would be allowed to leave the country. This caused the largest crisis of rafters in the history of this continent and the third massive exodus of Cuba to the United States (the first took place from the port of Camarioca and the second from the port of Mariel). At this situation, President Clinton’s administration ordered in August 19th, the interception of Cuban refugees in the high seas and their transportation to “safe refuge” in the Guantanamo Naval Base for their gradual entry in the United States. 

Note by Yali Romagoza

31984–1992. The contemporaneous emergence of the group known as los ’80s or Generación de los ochentaradicalized Cuban art praxis. Influenced by North American conceptual art and the advent of perestroika, the eighties generation viewed their art as a weapon and agent of freedom. Their recuperation of themes and subjects long proscribed by government censorship was the art community’s first collective effort to challenge official positions on the country’s cultural life. Bruguera was a student of these changes: the proliferation of happenings, the collaboration with other artistic practices (like literature, dance, theater), the popularization of semiotics, and Cuban art’s new activist agenda. This period of cultural and critical ferment formed the basis of Bruguera’s art of social effectiveness.

Note by Mailyn Machado and Nicole Bass

4In 1986, Bruguera performed the first in a series of reenactments of the work of Ana Mendieta at Fototeca de Cuba’s exhibition “No por mucho madrugar” in Havana, beginning a ten-year project to recover Mendieta’s legacy from official policies aimed at erasing the cultural contributions of Cuban expatriates. Controversy ballooned when the Estate of Ana Mendieta initially opposed Tribute to Ana Mendieta as an intervention into its own recuperative program. In 1996, Bruguera destroyed all vestiges of the series after the final performance at the Institute of International Visual Art in London, quieting conflict and emphasizing the ephemerality and immateriality of her conceptual work.




The Life of Others. Repetition and Survival. Akbank Sanat International Curator Competition 2012’s winning proposal. Akbank Sanat, Istanbul, Turkey. Curated by Alejandra Labastida. (Documentation)

February 19 – April 27

re.act.feminism @2 a performing archive.  Itinerant Exhibition.  Curated by Bettina Knaup and Beatrice Ellen Stammer. (Documentation)

.  Akademie der Künste.  Berlin, Germany.

June 21 – September 1


re.act.feminism @2 a performing archive.  Itinerant Exhibition.  Curated by Bettina Knaup and Beatrice Ellen Stammer. (Documentation)

.  Fundación Antoni Tápies, Barcelona, Spain.

November 15, 2012- February 17, 2013

.  Tallinna Kunstihoone. Tallinn, Estonia.

August 27 – September 23

.  Museet for Samtidskunst. Roskilde, Denmark.

June 16 – August 19

.  Galerija Miroslav Kraljevic. Zagreb, Croatia.

May 5 – May 26

.   Instytut Sztuki Wyspa. Gdansk, Poland.

March 23 – April 22


Anima. The Visible and the Invisible: Re-presenting the Body in Contemporary Art and Society. St. Pancras Church, International Institute of Visual Arts, Euston Area, London, England. Curated by Zoe Shearman and Tom Trevor.

September 20 – October 25


Las formas de la tierra. Buades Gallery, Madrid, Spain. Curated by Jesús Cañete. 

2 de febrero – 2 de marzo


La nube en pantalones.  Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba.  Curated by Corina Matamoros

April 3 – May [?]


Ana Mendieta / Tania Bruguera. Sala Polivalente, Centro deDesarrollo de las Artes Visuales, Havana, Cuba. Curated by Cristina Vives (catalog)

January 6 – February 6


No por mucho madrugar amanece más temprano. Fototeca de Cuba, Havana, Cuba. Curated by Rubén Torres Llorca. 

March 22 – April 22

Crisisss. América Latina.  Arte y Confrontación, 1919 – 2010.  


Tania Bruguera/Ana Mendieta. Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales

Havana, Cuba

photos: ©Gonzalo Vidal Alvarado 

St.Pancras Church

Londres, Inglaterra

fotos: ©Iniva 

Artist’s Studio

Havana, Cuba

photo: ©Luis Camnitzer 

Selected bibliography

(by alphabetical order)

Alonso Lorea, José Ramón “Tania Bruguera o el performance como medio de reflexión“, Ed. Estudios Culturales, Madrid, España, 2006

Alvisa, Rafael “(Untitled),” Tania Bruguera / Ana Mendieta, Ed. CDAV. Havana, Cuba, 1992. p. 3.

Bernardita, Lira M. “Crítica-Performance, a partir de Tania Bruguera,” Revista Lecturas, Chile, 17 de abril, 2010 (ilust.)

Bruguera, Tania “Tania Bruguera / Ana Mendieta,” Ed. CDAV. Havana, Cuba, 1992.

_______________ “La Generazione delle Immagini,” Racconti d’Identitá. UnDo.Net, nr.7, 2000/01 (ilust.)

Cameron, Dan “What lies behind. A text on the work of Tania Bruguera,” Ed. Palacio Abrantes, Salamanca, Spain

Cipitelli, Lucrezia “Dalla catedra all’Arte de Conducta. Un incontro con Tania Bruguera,” Luxflux, nro.5, 2004 (ilust.)

Heartney, Eleanor “Rediscovering Ana Mendieta,” Art in America 92, no. 10 (2004): 139-143.

_________________ “TANIA BRUGUERA: Politics by Other Means,” Art in America, April 2010, (cover & illust.) pp. 98 – 105.

Hernández, Carmen “Desde el cuerpo: alegorías de lo femenino,” Performancelogía, MBA. Caracas, Venezuela, July 18, 2002.

Lux, Simonetta “Tania Bruguera in Italia: corpo e potere,” Luxflux, nro.18, 2006 (illust.)

Matt, Gerald “Interviews,” Ed. Kunsthalle Wein, Austria, 2007, (illust.) pp. 66 – 75. ISBN 10: TANIA BRUGUERA 3-86560-188-9

Mosquera, Gerardo “Tania Bruguera / Ana Mendieta,” Ed. CDAV. Havana, Cuba, 1992. p. 2.

__________________ “Reanimating Ana Mendieta,” Poliéster, vol 4. no.11, winter, 1995, (illust.) pp. 52-55

Quiles, Daniel The artist is absent: Notes on Tania Bruguera,” Arte al Día International, No. 132, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2010 (illust.) pp. 42 – 47. ISNN 13 – 7447093153932

Ribeaux, Ariel Work in Progress, Tania Bruguera and What Belongs to Me,” Heterogénesis, Suecia, July, 1999 (illust.) 

Rubin, Edward Tania Bruguera Ruffling Feathers Around the Worlds,” MIT Press Journals, PAJ A Journal of Performance and Art.  January 2011, Vol.33, No.1 (PAJ 97), Pages 78-84 

Schmidt, Elisa “Ana Mendieta – Scenes of sacrifice between human and animal,” Artes Cenicas. Ed. Ceart. Brazil (illust.)

Trevor, Tom The Institution and My Body“, Keynote at Working in Public Seminar 2. Versión digital ed. Universidad Robert Gordon, Aberdeen, Inglaterra, 2006 (ilust.)

Viso, OlgaAna Mendieta:Earth Body Sculpture and Performance 1972–1985,” Exhibition catalog. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington,D.C. United States, July, 2004

Wood, Yolanda “The Adventure of Silence in Tania Bruguera,” Arte Cubano, no.3, Havana, Cuba, 2000, (cover & illust.)