This article is from the book published on the occasion of the exhibition Trace that was presented in Great Britain (1999). Participants in this exhibition, other than Doris Salcedo (b. 1958), were: Adriana Varejão (b. 1964), Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons (b. 1959), Liu, Shih-Fen (b. 1964), Nicola Constantino (b. 1964), Miroslaw Balka (b. 1958), Rivane Neuenschwander (b. 1967), Sutee Kunavichayanont (b. 1965) Luis Camnitzer (b. 1937), Vik Muniz (b. 1961), Dorothy Cross (b. 1956), Amanda Ralph, Julie Gough (b. 1956), Juan Muñoz (1953-2001), Susan Norrie (b. 1953), and Erwin Wurm (b. 1954).
This article provides a rich frame of reference for contemporary works and sensibilities by creating an awareness of the difference between “optical” and “corporal” traces, by drawing attention to a basic perceptual tool for analyzing the work of Salcedo, the Colombian artist, and by acknowledging the range of indexing signs in her work and in the work of other Colombian artists such as Oscar Muñoz (b. 1951) and Beatriz González (b. 1938). Susan Best suggests an interesting interpretation of Salcedo’s Sin título [Untitled] (1998) as a work that appeals to the body and stimulates a simultaneous sense of violence and tenderness; in other words, objects are seen as bodies that commemorate and embody lives.