ArtisTalk: Doris Salcedo


On April 23, artist Doris Salcedo joined us for the final installment of this season’s ArtisTalk series focusing on “Art in Public Space.” The filled lecture hall at the Arthur M. Sackler Museum listened as Salcedo walked us through her sculpture and installation work, citing writings and poetry that spoke to her ideas.

Salcedo describes her pieces as “works of mourning” that provide sites of remembrance for victims of political violence, such as the thousands lost in the Colombian civil war or to gang warfare in southeast Los Angeles. Though her work centers around violence, she makes a point never to reproduce the act itself, but to allude to it through the presence of the absent body: What happened to the person who sat in this empty dented chair?

In a conversation between Salcedo and Houghton Associate Curator Mary Schneider Enriquez, we learned that Salcedo gives every work the same amount of detail and attention, whether is it a single chair or over a hundred thousand crammed between two city buildings. According to the artist, it is “every small detail that builds an entire life [and] brings the experience together in a public space.”

Read the Big Red & Shiny’s article on Salcedo’s talk.

Images (top to bottom): Artist Doris Salcedo (left) in conversation with Houghton Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Mary Schneider Enriquez (right); Doris Salcedo. Photos: Antoinette Hocbo.