Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Revised: Doris Salcedo's retrospective exhibition at the Guggenheim

The Guggenheim Museum presented a major retrospective exhibition of Doris Salcedo. The museum's iconic spiral building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright usually shows, but this retrospective exhibition was held in the regular white galleries off to the side of the spiral. I am grateful for the museum not showing Salcedo's work in the spiral ramp. Often, when an exhibition is held in the spiral, the artwork competes  with the architecture for the viewers' attention.
Salcedo's work gives form to pain, trauma and loss, and addresses social issues such as violence, racism and colonialism of Colombia and other places she has lived. A lot of her work is about mourning. The sculpture Plegaria Muda(2008 - 2010) includes grass rising through wooden tables; as explained by introduction, this piece responds to acts of violence as many other pieces in the show. The grass reflects the mourning that mothers felt for their children who lost their lives to gang wars.
"Art do not answer, only pos questions," Salcedo said during a recent interview. We live in a world that is naturally imperfect; there are difficult questions, serious problems and issues such as violence everywhere and everyday. Artists who show a sincere care of other's pain can easily touch me. Many might debate that Salcedo's work is too emotionally heavy, intense and straightforward. Her sincerity is delivered through her pieces by the subject matters she chose such as the Plegaria Muda , to the beautifully handled materials and fabrication.

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