london

Günther Herbst

One in the Other

To begin, a small digression: Back in 1999, the first Liverpool Biennial included ten works by Doris Salcedo. Made from old wooden wardrobes and plaster, each individual piece combined two or three wardrobes into a single block, the smaller objects partially disappearing into the plaster-filled depths of the larger ones as if into the fog of the past. Displayed in the Anglican Cathedral, the works were lauded as affecting memorials to the “disappeared” victims of oppressive regimes. Yet this posed questions: Why make a series? Wouldn’t a single work, in the manner of the Unknown Soldier, have been more eloquent? The production of a number of sculptural arrangements seemed to undermine the “hot” phenomenological-expressivist rhetoric of pathos and human testimony. They either became a succession of “cool” formal sculptural experiments or—blasphemy!—an exercise in eking out extra profit from

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