I know: long time, no blog—even after all that talk before about doing better! It's a busy time of year for all industries, and publishing is no exception. So thank you for your patience, and bearing with my inconsistency! On to the good stuff!
I've been holding onto these photos from Doris Salcedo's retrospective at the Guggenheim, which ran through October 12th of this year. I wish I had photographed more, but I admit I actually thought I had to be sneaky with the camera in this show, when in fact I could have shot every inch, had I wanted. Hindsight!
But in truth, I'm oscillating with that thought. Salcedo's surreal, hybrid sculptures of found objects and organic materials are imposing at times and visually arresting; and on a deeper level, they are all Salcedo's responses to political unrest, social injustices and abuses of power, to instances of violence and trauma, and other events that stem from the venom of racism and post-colonial instability.
In short, awareness of the stories from which the works grew was much more potent in person than I could have imagined, and after several galleries of work not shown below, I was tearful and shaken. At first, many works felt like memorials of people and traumatic history—but other times, they were uncomfortably ghostly reminders, or even an embodiment of that trauma.
This is a good thing: this is what art can do.
(We need reminders, we need art like Salcedo's (among the myriad reasons we need art) to communicate the visceral truth for those who can no longer speak for themselves, to tell their stories, to prevent the cycles from recurring.)
This is why I'm okay with not having preserved every piece in photographs.
I'm okay with the memory of the experience of those works—I think allowing myself to put away the camera, and just look truly is what exposed me to having that experience.
On a final note, another work of Salcedo's that I find absolutely stunning is Shiboleth—the site-specific installation in the Tate Britain's Turbine Hall for which there is still a scar running the length of the immense space.