Doris Salcedo traces the distortion of reality that occurs when power and violence are used as means of social control. What comfort resides in the bed you once shared with a missing lover? What pleasure can one take in the intimate possessions of one’s spouse or child when they have been dragged away with no explanation? Objects retain traces of those who have used them. It is difficult to throw away such traces of an absent loved one, and yet it is equally difficult to continue using them as though nothing had happened.

In this series wardrobes and beds are rendered monstrous by their merger. All the holes, gaps and cracks in the wood have been meticulously sealed with white cement. It is as if they have been rendered blind and mute, just like those whose silence is ensured by the threat of further violence. This careful sealing of the cracks is also read as an attempt to keep something out or in. But in this case the ‘something’ is elusive, like the nebulous fear of some unforeseen tragedy. Salcedo’s fusion of inanimate matter and human remains provokes a sense of abomination.


  • Title: Untitled
  • Creator: Doris Salcedo
  • Creator Lifespan: 1958
  • Creator Gender: Female
  • Creator Birth Place: Colombia
  • Date Created: 2007
  • Physical Dimensions: 189.0 x 233.0 x 82.5 cm
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Rights: Purchased 2007 © Doris Salcedo
  • Medium: wood, concrete, metal and fabric
  • Signature & Date: Not signed. Not dated.
  • Artist Country: Colombia

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