[ONLINE] University of Aveiro, Portugal

October 21, 22 and 23 2020

Art and Political Instability – The Search for Identity in the Performative Art of Ana Mendieta and Coco Fusco

Anna Clara Petracca

In parallel to the second wave of feminism, which developed from the second half of the 20th century, there were demonstrations against oppressive regimes, in addition to the sexual revolution. The artistic performance was increasingly related to issues of political identity, gender and social, for its experimental character and power, generating more visceral catharsis, through the permission of direct encounters with society. Thus, feminist art and artistic performance intersected, approximating the relationship between work and artist, considering their subjectivities (in identity and politics) within language, as well as elements and characteristics of performance. As follows, this article seeks to present a study of reflection on the search for identity in a context of political instability through performative art. For this, a brief theoretical-historical review is made of the themes that structure the discussion: feminist activism, political and gender identity and its relations with creation and performance, and the use of the body itself as a means of artistic expression (body art). In addition to the theoretical revision, an analysis is elaborated on the artistic creation of Ana Mendieta (1948-1985), Cuban artist, refugee in the United States during the regime of Fidel Castro, and Coco Fusco (1960-), a cuban-american artist, who had her mother exiled from Cuba during the Revolution. From the aspects analyzed in this research, it is possible to understand a little more of the search for identity through performative art in a context of political instability, using as a method the theoretical revision and analysis of artistic works, making room for future discussions on the subject.

Keywords: Performance art; Politics; Feminism; Ana Mendieta; Coco Fusco.