Doris Salcedo Retrospective | Museum of Contemporary Art | Museums | Chicago Reader

Doris Salcedo Retrospective Agenda Closing (Theater and Galleries) Recommended Image

When: Feb. 21-May 24 2015

Politically imbued and embedded in Colombia's extensive history of civil conflicts, Doris Salcedo's sculptures and installations focus distinctly on addressing experiences within a third-world identity and in the artist's words, "[attempt] to give back the sense, meaning, and form that violence took away from its victims." Salcedo takes commonplace materials and positions them in a sensitive and emblematic context: methodically piled crisp white shirts pierced by steel bars, wooden chairs dangling precariously from a government building. "Her work addresses the disruption of everyday life and the domestic sphere that's interrupted when you lose a family member," says Julie Rodrigues Widholm, cocurator of a new exhibition of Salcedo's work at the MCA, the first retrospective of the artist's 30-year career. "It's about presence and absence—marking them with an empty chair, or furniture and giving form to that loss." The exhibit includes re-creations of installations that were previously shown in Bogotá; sculptures, notably A Flor de Piel, a large-scale veil of hemmed rose petals that coats the gallery floor; and her latest work, Disremembered, a series of tuniclike sculptures woven from silk thread and nearly 12,000 needles, inspired by conversations with Chicago women who have lost children to gun violence. There will also be a short film documenting Salcedo's site-specific pieces—works that either no longer exist or are otherwise impossible to display in the galleries of the museum. "Doris is concerned with every human life and considers her work to be actual mourning," Widholm says. "She addresses larger social concerns and social issues of Colombian history. She brings those issues to the center so that people acknowledge the civil and social conflict." —Zara Yost

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