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In this exhibition review, Monica Amor writes on Doris Salcedo’s new installation at Alexander and Bonin gallery. She compares two new sculptural works to installations done by Salcedo in the past and proposes that Salcedo is pressing on the issues of anonymity and loss of identity. Amor compares these new sculptures to Salcedo’s older works. She suggests that instead of more expressive and sculptural shapes, these new works “are more insistent on a materiality from which meaning has been evacuated.”
In this issue of Artforum, Monica Amor reviews Doris Solcedo’s (b. 1958) solo exhibition Doris Salcedo at Alexander and Bonin gallery, presented in November 2008 through January 2009. In this exhibition, Salcedo introduces two new sculptural works that are comprised of dislocated and oddly conjoined furniture pieces. By distorting these objects until they lose their intended function, Salcedo exemplifies the abandonment of “their roles as symbols of the self and repositories of personal history.” Amor notes that although Salcedo has turned to alternative modes of representation in her practice, such as the Shibboleth installation at the Tate Modern in 2007, for this installation she returned to her use of domestic objects, “the basis of her first known works.”
In her earlier works, Salcedo filled the spaces within furniture pieces with concrete as abstract and minimalist gesture, which repressed any form of narrative “in favor of producing a sense of indetermination.” Regarding these works Salcedo remarks that “silence is all there is,” and for Amor, this notion is still relevant. Instead of using concrete to fill spaces, these works use concrete to “articulate the joints between the individual pieces, which project a respectable awkwardness.”
Columbian-born sculptor Doris Salcedo (b. 1958) works and lives in Bogotá. She holds a B.A. from the University of Bogotá and an M.A. from New York University. Salcedo left New York and returned to Bogotá to teach at the Universidad Nacional de Columbia. She most recently received The Rolf Shock Prize in the Visual Arts (2017), Inaugural Nasher Prize for Sculpture (2016) and Hiroshima Art Prize (2014), among many others.
Art critic, writer, professor and curator Monica Amor has a Ph.D from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Outside of being a professor of Art History and Theory and Criticism at the Maryland Institute College of Art, she contributes essays to Artforum, Art Margins, Grey Room, Third Text, Art Journal, October, and many others. Amor is author of Theories of the non-object: Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela 1944-1969 and has taught at Hunter College, Parsons School of Design, Pratt Institute, the Instituto Universitario di Architecttura di Venezia, and the University of Pennsylvania. She has curated numerous exhibitions including “Mexico: Expected/Unexpected” in 2008 for Le Maison Rouge in Paris and “Gego Defying Structures” in 2006 for the Serralves Foundation in Porto.
This review is relevant for relating Salcedo’s recent works to her earlier practice, while still exhibiting how her practice has evolved. [See in ICAA digital archive, the text: “Art and Media-tion: Reflection,” by Santiago Villaveces Izquierdo (doc. no. 1134483) and “Carlos Basualdo in conversation with Doris Salcedo,” by Carlos Basualdo (doc. No. 1081278), regarding Salcedo’s choice of materials, procedures and interests.]