IMMA presents a major exhibition by internationally acclaimed artist Doris Salcedo (b. 1958, Colombia). One of the world’s leading sculptors, Salcedo takes acts of political violence and victims’ experiences as the starting point to make works that are an examination of both mourning and materiality.
Using domestic materials already charged with significance and saturated with meaning accumulated from years of use in daily life, Salcedo’s sculptures and installations transform commonplace items into poignant and commanding testimonies of loss and remembrance. Since 2008, Salcedo has incorporated organic materials into her work, such as grass, silk, soil, and rose petals in A Flor de Piel II, blurring the lines between what is permanent and ephemeral.
Acts of Mourning focuses on key aspects of the artist’s career since the 1990’s and the challenges her work poses to the traditions of sculpture. The exhibition brings together six bodies of work including two substantial installations works A Flor de Piel II (2013-2014) and Plegaria Muda (2008-2010), as well as works from the Disremembered (2014-2017), Atrabiliarios (1996) and Untitled (furniture works) (1990-2016) series. The artist’s most recent sculpture series Tabula Rasa (2018), which is inspired by Salcedo’s conversations with survivors of sexual violence at the hands of armed men, is also included.
The exhibition poses questions about how we remember and acknowledge the personal histories of vulnerable and anonymous survivors of political and societal violence and how we can mourn those claimed by it. In order to articulate such loss, in the process of making the work Salcedo performs an act of remembrance for the forgotten victims. In doing so, she carves out a space for mourning that is both poignant and insistent. As Salcedo reflects “my work is about the memory of experience, which is always vanishing, not about experiences taken from life and is intended to honour the individuality of each victim’s experience”.
Acts of Mourning reflects Salcedo’s consistent preoccupation with the experience of mourning and the connection between violence, anonymity and the public domain. Bearing witness to individual testimonies, Salcedo memorialises and commemorates otherwise voiceless victims in a striking, powerful and emblematic way.