Constantly crumbling back into itself, earth is a medium of time and place. Earth Body is a group exhibition of corporeal works that use mud as material.
Ana Mendieta sculpted many of her iconic outdoor works with the expectation that they would deteriorate and merge with nature. Made within the jungles of Cuba in 1981, her series of Rupestrian Sculptures would only be known through her photo documentation.
Three decades later, Elise Rasmussen traveled to Jaruco State Park in search of a trace. She was told that the sculptures had been destroyed, but as luck would have it, she found them! The original cave location was still haunted by the goddess bodies. Maroya is a photo of one of Mendieta’s pieces as Rasmussen found it. Carved into limestone, with an earthen silhouette, the moon goddess has weathered over time, but its connection between the human and spirit world remains strong.
The intimate exchange between artist and landscape is also present in Brie Ruais’ photograph Location X, November 15, 2019. Kicked and clawed, the shapes of her body are evident in red clay, spread over the Nevada desert soil. The ephemeral sculpture was left behind to dry, crack and eventually disappear.
Un Lien (A Link) The Cord depicts a line of bodies grasping each other. The polaroid snapshot was taken during a performance orchestrated by Yacine Tilala Fall. Moments earlier, the performers worked in dutiful unison as they hand coated each other with mud and worked a 260’ handmade burlap rope. Fall uses these motifs to connect with her Senegalese roots. Devotees of the Sufi order of the Baye Fall, bare feet allow them to maintain a constant connection with their land.
Dust Cloud encapsulates a collaborative moment during an Italian summer drought. Elka Krajewska and Gregor Neuerer stumbled upon a stream trickling down from an industrial quarry. Adding pigment to this mud, the duo painted in a style of call and response. One dropped gobs of the substance onto the paper, while the other found lines through a spreading gesture.
Combining fresh mud and rust dyes, Anna Rosen’s painting evokes the universality of primeval cave art. Working in a decaying building on Governor’s Island (next to where she had scooped up her paints), Rosen had the sensation that her works were helping the room return to the earth.
Finally, the exhibition is grounded by Jenine Marsh’s floor installation, am i worth anything or am i shit. A low platform of stepping stones, built with a mixture of soil, concrete and wildflower seeds misinterprets the guerrilla gardening recipe for seed-bombs. Scattered with train-pressed coins and organic matter, the work situates itself as a tactile common ground where the value, agency and mortality of material bodies coalesce.