We saw an incredible exhibit today at the MCA in Chicago—Doris Salcedo, a sculptor from Bogota Colombia, whose work layers discarded, dismembered, and broken products and materials and recombines these objects signifying lost humanity. The once fully functional objects she uses (chairs, armoires, tables, clothing) have become functionless, robbed of their utilitarian nature, substituting for and representing the humans who once used them. Her work is powerful, political, unsettling, poetic. Living in Colombia where as she says, people have become “anesthetized to violence,” her work strives to rekindle, to reawaken feelings and passions for the victims of violence.
The video above documents her public works. The link to this video focuses more on her sculptures and installations. In the words of the Pritzker Director at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Madeleine Grynsztejn, in the foreword of the catalogue for the show, “Her work gives form to pain, trauma, and loss, creating spaces for individual and collective mourning, with a great sensitivity to aesthetics and a dedication to making visible that (and those) which often remains invisible.”
In Salcedo’s words, ““I don’t work based on imagination, on fiction.” Collecting testimonies of the victims of violence as the research for her sculptures, she claims her role as an artist is as a “secondary witness” to those crimes against humanity. She also claims as an artist she has no answers. She only provides the questions.
The exhibition is on view until May 24, 2015.