Why does Salcedo memorialize victims of political violence?
As part of her artistic process, Salcedo travels to Colombia’s rural communities and interviews survivors of violence and the families of those who have disappeared and are presumed dead. The Unland series comprises three related sculptures taking the form of tables—family gathering places that now sit eerily unpopulated and silent. The three works’ titles all begin with Unland, an invented word suggesting dislocation and placelessness—a land now empty of inhabitants. Artist Doris Salcedo:
Memory, of course, is the—is the essence of my work. When a violent event takes place, the entire space where it took place becomes uncanny. That is to say, if something happened in a house that you knew, that you lived in, and then the house has been destroyed, you are completely disoriented. So the familiar objects turn against you. If your house has been destroyed, it’s no longer yours; you cannot recognize it. So it’s something that was familiar, that was part of your life. But then it is twisted. There’s a perverse twist. And then you don’t know what it is. And it becomes something threatening.
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