Beginning in the 1980s, the artistic production of Doris Salcedo has engaged in a vivid dialogue with political and social contexts. The violent guerrilla warfare that for decades is present in the history of Colombia and other accounts of 20th-century violence come up in her sculptures and installations as references, starting points and allusions. In her early works, the appropriation of everyday, household objects such as furniture items, clothing and fabrics patinated by history and original usage points towards a political and psychological “archaeology”. These objects reappear in sculptures with their parts altered, recombined and covered with concrete, thereby approximating their formal procedures to their dramatic contents. Salcedo’s work, aimed against historical amnesia, is not fully devoid of a literary sense of absurd. Her production is therefore oftentimes associated to such literary references as the Romanian-born Jewish poet Paul Celan (1920-1970), or the Irish playwright and novelist Samuel Beckett (1906-1989). As we can see, deconstruction is not far removed from the artist’s interests. Permanently installed at Inhotim, Neither (2004), in its turn, reflects Salcedo’s more recent interest in architectural interventions, while taking up the exhibition venue as stage for large-scale installations. Here the artist engages in direct dialogue with “the white cube”, a major paradigm of the modern exhibition gallery. Designed with idealized proportions and constant lighting, the white cube is segregated from the outside as a place seemingly untouched by the passing of time, so that the artistic experience may take place in a “pure” and “neutral” manner. However, here a grid-shape steelwork has been attached to the walls featuring minimum differences in its insistent repeated pattern. At once laden with emotion and nearly invisible, the work relates with the architecture of concentration camps, as well as with the devices of segregation ubiquitous in large cities worldwide. This work features a clash between outside and inside: at the same time that its walls are protective, the metalwork in them imprisons and isolates. Ultimately, it is neither one thing nor the other.


  • Title: Neither
  • Creator Lifespan: 1952
  • Creator Nationality: Brazilian
  • Creator Gender: Female
  • Creator Birth Place: Bogotá
  • Date Created: 2004/2009
  • Type: Installation
  • Rights: Inhotim Collection, Brazil, Daniel Mansur
  • Medium: Plasterboard and steel
  • Sculptor: Doris Salcedo

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