|A Flor de Piel (2014)|
Entering the Doris Salcedo show is much like walking into a mausoleum; a dark, contemplative energy fills the room. Each piece exists silent and monumental, occupying the physical space and our own internal landscape like tombstones honoring the memories of those passed. These “tombstones” – taking the form of cement-filled and crudely amalgamated furniture, for example – have an eerie magnetic quality that transforms the viewer from a mere bystander to a witness to the unspoken tragedies of the people of Salcedo’s native Colombia.
Perhaps one of the more disturbing pieces in the show involves an awkward arrangement of wooden tables. What isn’t immediately evident is Salcedo’s subtle perversion of these familiar surfaces: she has painstakingly woven individual hairs through minuscule holes across the tabletops. There is something undeniably haunting that inspires a visceral discomfort: a familiar object desecrated by human hands, its surface pierced with needle and hair.
Salcedo’s visual poetry has developed to communicate the immense sorrow that plagues the lives of her subjects. Whether it is the image of preserved rose petals stitched by hand together to create a textile resembling flayed skin or a young girl’s dress claustrophobically engulfed in concrete, Salcedo insinuates a dark energy that lingers with the viewer.