Doris Salcedo | Third World Identity

In her Bogotá studio, artist Doris Salcedo discusses the stereotypes she faces as a citizen of a Third World country and how she embraces these first-hand experiences of discrimination to inform her art. Shown working alongside her team of assistants, whose collective labor underscores the political messages of her sculptures, Salcedo proposes a more humble role for artists working today.

Doris Salcedo’s understated sculptures and installations embody the silenced lives of the marginalized, from individual victims of violence to the disempowered of the Third World. Although elegiac in tone, her works are not memorials: Salcedo concretizes absence, oppression, and the gap between the disempowered and powerful. While abstract in form and open to interpretation, her works serve as testimonies on behalf of both victims and perpetrators. Salcedo’s work reflects a collective effort and close collaboration with a team of architects, engineers, and assistants and—as Salcedo says—with the victims of the senseless and brutal acts to which her work refers.

Doris Salcedo is featured in the Season 5 (2009) episode Compassion of the Art:21—Art in the Twenty-First Century television series on PBS.

VIDEO | Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Bob Elfstrom. Sound: Ray Day. Editor: Paulo Padilha & Mark Sutton. Artwork Courtesy: Doris Salcedo.

Contributor
Wesley Miller is the associate curator at ART21. Miller co-curates the television series Art in the Twenty-First Century. He is also co-creator of the series New York Close Up.
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