Global cultures 1980–now
- Julie Mehretu, Stadia II
- Mehretu, Stadia II
- Doris Salcedo's "Shibboleth"
- Doris Salcedo, Shibboleth
- Salcedo, Shibboleth
- Doris Salcedo, Shibboleth
- Raúl de Nieves, Beginning & the end neither & the otherwise betwixt & between the end is the beginning & the end
- Julie Mehretu: Politicized Landscapes
- An interview with Alfredo Jaar: Gramsci & Pasolini
- Jamie Wyeth, Kalounna in Frogtown
- Yto Barrada, Ceuta Border, Illegally Crossing the Border into the Spanish Enclave of Ceuta, Tangier
- Suchitra Mattai, Exodus
- Tanya Aguiñiga, Metabolizing the Border
- Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Border Tuner
- Postcommodity arts collective
- Richard Misrach, Border Cantos
- Minerva Cuevas, Crossing of the Rio Bravo
- Jaime Carrejo, "Border/Land"
- Guadalupe Maravilla, Requiem For My Border Crossing
"Every work of art is political because every work of art is breaking new ground," says Colombian artist Doris Salcedo. In this video, Salcedo explains why she decided to literally break new ground in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall by splitting the floor open with a long snaking crack in her piece Shibboleth. The word “shibboleth” refers to a word or custom that can be used to differentiate one group from another, and is therefore a token of power: the power to judge and reject with violence.
What might it mean to refer to such violence in an art museum? For Salcedo, the crack represents a history of racism, running parallel to the history of modernity. As Salcedo comes from a country riven by war, she has always seen conflict and the world from the perspective of the oppressed. The piece is not an attack, but rather a reminder, a question mark and a disruption of the status quo: she invites us to look down into it, and to confront discomforting truths about our world.
If you could create some kind of artistic distruption, what would it be? Would it be in a gallery, or on the street? Would it be confrontational or subtle?
To learn more about Doris Salcedo, Shibboleth, and other thought-provoking sculptures by the artist, click here.
Want to join the conversation?
- I'm focusing on the scar left after the show closes: does anyone see this as The Healing Power of Art? But also the power of Art to forever recall a concept.(7 votes)
- That's a great interpretation: not only does Shibboleth focus our attention on the opening or "wound" it creates, it also invites us to think about the scar it leaves behind, even after the completion of the show. Even if the crack is smoothed over perfectly, we're left with the memory of it -- which is something art is very good at doing, don't you think?(6 votes)
- Very interesting--how did she create this crack? Did it damage the facility or structure? Was the building originally created with this crack in the foundation? I am very intrigued.(6 votes)
- Great questions, Joaquin. Salcedo was responsible for creating the crack -- originally, the floor of the building was perfectly smooth. Installation of the artwork took place over five weeks and was carried out very carefully as not to damage the existing structure. It was also very precise, matching the artist's drawings and plans down to the thinnest hairline crack.
Creating this kind of fissure in a gallery is undoubtedly a bold move. What do you think if it?
You can read more about it here: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/salcedo-shibboleth-iii-p20336/text-summary(7 votes)
- I love the fact that the piece will remain under a new floor. I wonder what archaeologists will make of it in the future?(1 vote)
- "Permanent scar" -- that is exactly what I love about this work too. It is also unique in that it is the only installation to remove something from the space yet the only one, again, to leave something lasting.(4 votes)
- Were visitors allowed to walk around this? I imagine people would want a close look at it. And if so, how did the museum keep people from hurting themselves on it?(1 vote)
- Yes, visitors were invited to walk around, peer into, and get a closer look at the piece as the artist intended. In order to ensure their safety and awareness, warning signs were posted around the gallery and staff members were on hand to monitor the exhibit and hand out leaflets.(4 votes)
- I'm failing to grasp what being refused at the border has to do with racial hatred, all countries have borders that they protect to stabilize the economy and welfare of the citizens(1 vote)
- If you know the story behind the title "Shibboleth", you'll be better able to understand what the artist is getting at. The artificial lines on the map that designate borders between nations are just that, artificial. The boundaries that human beings of one race put between themselves and human beings of other races are equally artificial. We are one people, worldwide.(2 votes)
- I ask myself quite often when looking to a piece of art, special an abstract one, what's the importance of knowing the name and hearing the artist explanation.
On this case, I can imagine myself, that visiting the museum without any information, my thought would fly to a completely different directions that the artist intend. For example to some earthquake events that happened during that time. Thinking about this question left confuse about all the modern art.(1 vote)
- You make a good point, for as much as the "art" of a piece lies in the personal response of the viewer/participant, it is also in the "concept" of the artist/producer. With representational pieces, we have familiar clues to guide our understandings. Chinese art often goes further and is accompanied with poetic inscriptions which, as they interact with what is depicted, guide interpretations. Abstract pieces often need the kind of artist introduction, interpretation that we have here, or we go astray in the imaginations of our hearts.(1 vote)