In conjunction with Palimpsest, the installation Doris Salcedo (Bogotá, 1958) will display in the Palacio de Cristal from 6 October, the Museo Reina Sofía will hold an encounter between the artist and the historian Estrella de Diego, where both will examine how art confronts the way in which violence perforates each gesture, object and situation in contemporary society.
Salcedo studied at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá between 1988 and 1991, complementing her knowledge of sculpture at New York University in 1994, where she studied the minimalist movement, a language she would radically subvert. Her work tackles the relationship art bears with trauma and its capacity to publicly reveal and exorcise grief in the face of loss, thus adopting the repetition and seriality of minimalist sculpture to define a silent space and poignancy that is conducive to memory and remembrance. Yet, contrasting with practices in minimalism, the artist references specific violent episodes in recent Colombian history in such a way that her installations sit halfway between relic – personal objects, furniture, hair, clothes — and anti-monument, granting visibility to victims deprived of public recognition.
Salcedo’s body of work is indivisible from the context of Colombia and the so-called “culture of the wound”; that is, the link between violence, privacy and public space. Exposing and probing this wound through art, yet standing back from the sensationalism and frivolity found in certain corners of the mass media, constitutes one of her primary aims. Therefore, works such as Atrabiliarios (1990–1991), a series of twenty niches with footprints left by the shoes of Colombian women who have been victims of kidnapping and rape but remain unidentified, or La Casa Viuda (1992-1995), an installation made up of sculptures of assembled furniture and doors taken from houses destroyed by the so-called “death squads” in Colombia, show the viewer the history and invisible subjects of a society in conflict.
Doris Salcedo. Artist. She has participated in a wide array of international events, including the São Paulo Biennial (1998), documenta XI, Kassel (2002) and the Istanbul Biennial (2003), and has been the subject of solo exhibitions in institutions such the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (1998); the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1999 and 2005); Tate Britain, London (1999); Camden Arts Centre, London (2001); Tate Modern, London (2007); Inhotim, Centro de Arte Contemporânea, Belo Horizonte (2008); the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City; Moderna Museet, Malmö; CAM Gulbenkian, Lisbon (2011); MAXXI (Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo), Rome; the Pinacoteca de São Paulo (2012); the Hiroshima Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima (2014); and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2015). Salcedo also won the Premio Velázquez in 2010 and the Nasher Prize in 2015.
Estrella de Diego. Essayist and professor of Contemporary Art at the Complutense University of Madrid. She has developed her research into gender studies and contemporary artistic practice in numerous publications, such as La mujer y la pintura del siglo XIX español (1987); El andrógino sexuado (1992); Tristísimo Warhol (1999); Quedarse sin lo exótico (1999); Querida Gala. Las vidas ocultas de Gala Dalí (2003); Remedios Varo (2007); Maruja Mallo (2008); No soy yo: autobiografía, performance y los nuevos espectadores (2011) and Rincones de postales: turismo y hospitalidad (2014). In 2010, she won the Gold Medal of Merit in the Fine Arts, and joined the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 2016.