Mendieta immigrated to the United States when she was 12 years old. She studied painting at the University of Iowa, but became strongly interested in performance art while still in school. Her work explores relationships between her own body, the earth, and the natural world, and straddles a wide range of media including performance, video, photography, and printmaking. Just when Mendieta was starting to garner international acclaim, she fell to her death from her apartment. Three of her early videos are shown in the Triennnale.