By Culturekiosque Staff
LONDON, 5 APRIL 2008 Rather than
fill this iconic space with a conventional sculpture or installation,
Columbian artist Doris Salcedo has created a subterranean chasm that
stretches the length of the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern in London. The
concrete walls of the crevice are ruptured by a steel mesh fence.
Photo courtesy of
Shibboleth asks questions about the
interaction of sculpture and space, about architecture and the values it
enshrines, and about the shaky ideological foundations on which Western
notions of modernity are built.
In particular, Salcedo is addressing a long legacy of
racism and colonialism that underlies the modern world. A 'shibboleth' is
a custom, phrase or use of language that acts as a test of belonging to a
particular social group or class. By definition, it is used to exclude
those deemed unsuitable to join this group.
'The history of racism', Salcedo writes, 'runs
parallel to the history of modernity, and is its untold dark side'. For
hundreds of years, Western ideas of progress and prosperity have been
underpinned by colonial exploitation and the withdrawal of basic rights
from others. Our own time, Salcedo is keen to remind us, remains defined
by the existence of a huge socially excluded underclass, in Western as
well as post-colonial societies.
In breaking open the floor of the museum, Salcedo is
exposing a fracture in modernity itself. Her work encourages us to
confront uncomfortable truths about our history and about ourselves with
absolute candidness, and without self-deception.
Doris Salcedo was born in 1958 in Bogotá, Colombia,
where she lives and works.
Doris Salcedo: Shibboleth
until 6 April
Tel: (44) 20 78 87 88 88
Travel Calendar Tip: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Conference: What's the Use of
Center for the Study
of Diversity in Science, Technology, and Medicine
Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
25 - 26 April
Researchers and journal editors in medicine, science, law, and
social science explore the competing interests that make studies of race
both feared and desired.
All titles are chosen by the editors as being of
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The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights
Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation
By Gene Roberts and Hank
Hardcover: 528 pages
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