Doris Salcedo, Untitled, 2004-05. Stainless steel, 43 × 46 × 31 inches (109.2 × 116.8 × 78.7 cm). Gift of Barbara Lee, The Barbara Lee Collection of Art by Women. Courtesy the artist and Alexander and Bonin. © Doris Salcedo
Doris Salcedo distorts the familiarity of everyday objects, transforming domestic furniture into menacing statements of violence, mourning, and trauma. The artist has made powerful sculptures and installations since the mid-1980s that build on the memories and testimonies of victims of political persecution during the civil war in her native Colombia.
In Untitled, 2004–05, Salcedo displaces the imagery of household chairs, modifying their form and function while adding new layers of significance. This work is part of a larger series in which she evokes the violence of state interrogation techniques practiced by corrupt governments. To produce these works, Salcedo made wax models of the sculpture and collaborated with a New York-based factory to create the stainless steel models. The chair, once a support for the body, is presented as a disabled form—missing backs and battered corners—that speak to brutal and violent actions.
Untitled, 2004–05, joins a number of sculptures by Salcedo in the ICA/Boston’s collection. It augments the museum’s holdings of works that investigate themes of war and violence by such artists as Mona Hatoum, Willie Doherty, and Yasumasa Morimura.