Acquired 1994
Doris Salcedo

Colombian, born 1958

Untitled, 1992

Wood furniture, steel, and cement
114.3 x 186.7 x 50.8 cm (45 x 73 1/2 x 20 in.)

Doris Salcedo’s sculptures and installations offer an elegiac meditation on the violence in her native Colombia. Since 1988 the artist has interviewed people whose relatives have “disappeared” by order of the military or paramilitary squads associated with Colombia’s civil war and illegal drug trade, and she regularly visits abandoned villages, murder sites, and mass graves. Untitled is part of a series in which Salcedo buried domestic furniture and other personal objects in cement, stripping these utilitarian pieces of their functions and turning them into humble monuments to their lost, silenced, or forgotten owners. The artist explained, “There was one widow . . . who told me how difficult it was to continue living with objects that are reminders of her husband. . . . Every day you sit at the dining table and the empty chair is there, screaming the absence of that person. It can become a very difficult object to live with. So I tried to make those objects silent, encasing them in cement.”