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Vitalism's after-burn: The sense of Ana Mendieta

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This article considers the influential work of Ana Mendieta. Focusing on her siluetas series, Muñoz describes Mendieta's art as performing a modality of brownness that leaves resonant indentions on the world, what he calls vital materialist after-burns. Mendieta's after-burns are read alongside the poet's of Négritude and their investment in a critical élan vital that speaks to the historical precariousness of dispossessed people. The artist's work is explained as a meditation on a critical brownness that is theorized as the sharing out of the unshareable, the invaluable and the incalculable. Mendieta's intervention is ultimately described as the work of offering a brown sense of the world in which singularities flow into a politically enabling common.

Keywords: Ana Mendieta; affect; brownness; vitalism

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Performance Studies, New York University,

Publication date: July 1, 2011


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