SEGMENT: Doris Salcedo in "Compassion"

From "Art in the Twenty-First Century" Season 5 (2009)

Featured in this video

Release date

October 7, 2009


“I am a Third World artist,” says Doris Salcedo, “from that perspective—from the perspective of the victim, from the perspective of the defeated people—it’s where I’m looking at the world.” Filmed in her Bogotá, Colombia studio while preparing a series of abstract sculptures based on antique household furniture, the artist devotes careful attention to the tormented wooden finishes and smooth concrete surfaces of her objects. “I don’t work based on imagination, on fiction,” she explains, characterizing her role as a “secondary witness” to the victims of violence whose testimonies she collects as research for her pieces, such as "Atrabiliarios" at SFMoMA, the "Unland" series of tables, the ephemeral installation "Noviembre 6 y 7," and "Shibboleth"—a 160 meter crack in the foundation of Tate Modern in London.

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