Manuel Mendive (1944 - )

Untitled (1988)

Paint on papier-mâché
height: 28cm
width: 16cm

Donated by Dawn Ades and Susan Ferleger-Brades 2001


Untitled is representative of Mendive's works from the mid-1980s onward. While in the 1960s Mendive typically produced paintings that explicitly referenced traditional ritual practices and orishas from Afro-Cuban traditions such as Santería, during the 1970s his work moved away from reflecting specific concepts and events into representations of more generalized, cosmic images. Influenced by trips to Africa during the 1980s, Mendive became more concerned with multi-dimensional works that incorporated elements of performance, including dancing and body painting. Untitled (mask) can be read as an element from one of these multidimensional works of the 1980s. One can imagine this mask having a transformative effect on a performer who, with painted body and as one element in a larger procession, would appear more as an apparition - part animal, part artwork - than as a human being. The mask itself is at once playful, with its green and red spots, and sinister in the way that it restricts its wearer to silence, forcing him/her to apprehend and interact with the world only through the eyeholes.

Jennifer Josten, 01/12/2008

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