Doris Salcedo Remembers the Forgotten

Doris Salcedo’s retrospective has traveled from the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, where it occupies all five levels of the museum’s tower. This exhibition confronts issues of civil war and unrest, gang violence, displacement, and political upheaval across the world and throughout the twentieth century, yet these subjects could not be more relevant to the contemporary American consciousness as we struggle with these same issues today. Salcedo uses ordinary objects from our daily lives to elicit a sense of displacement and loss related to the suffering of political violence victims. Salcedo comes from Colombia, the country with the longest-running civil turmoil in the Western Hemisphere.[i] While some works relate to a specific tragic event and others to the general feeling of loss, the artist undoubtedly connects with the victims from her home country and around the world who deserve to be considered and remembered. In a January 2015 interview, Salcedo claimed that in our modern society, “we have lost our ability to mourn.”[ii] She addresses this problem through the use of familiar domestic objects, curing our insensitivity by allowing us to connect personally with the victims and to witness violence from their perspective.

Installation view: Doris Salcedo, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, June 26–October 12, 2015 Photo: David Heald¬ © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Installation view: Doris Salcedo, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, June 26–October 12, 2015
Photo: David Heald © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation

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