Doris Salcedo, Installation at 8th International Istanbul Biennial, 2003. Salcedo’s idea was to create a “topography of war,” not tied to a specific historical event, but to war in general. Seeing these 1,550 wooden chairs piled high between two buildings in central Istanbul, one is reminded of mass graves, anonymous victims... of both chaos and absence, two effects of wartime violence.
This untitled installation, made in 1990, was in direct response to an incident in Colombia in 1988, where male banana plantation workers were dragged from their homes and murdered. The shirts are bright white, carefully laundered and folded, piled up and waiting to be worn. Steel poles pierce each pile, pinning them to the floor. This piercing of the soft white cotton, with hard steel, implies a violent interruption. Doris Salcedo.
Doris Salcedo's Powerful Retrospective at the MCA Chicago