chicago

Doris Salcedo, Plegaria Muda (Silent Prayer), 2008–10, wood, concrete, earth, grass. Installation view.

Doris Salcedo

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA Chicago)

Doris Salcedo, Plegaria Muda (Silent Prayer), 2008–10, wood, concrete, earth, grass. Installation view.

Doris Salcedo’s well-known “Untitled” series, 1989–2008, features pieces of domestic furniture—chairs, armoires, cabinets, and tables—that have been fused together with concrete and steel into haunting amalgams. That clothing is sometimes visible within the sections of concrete, its softness frozen and locked within the rigid horizontals and verticals of the intersecting objects, only reinforces the sense of the uncanny that pervades these works. Salcedo’s sculpture insists on decelerated, meticulous viewing: One must circumambulate the objects within the exhibition space to pinpoint idiosyncratic, unexpected details, such as lines intentionally branded into wood here and there, like scars.

To what extent should the reception of Salcedo’s objects and installations be informed by the artist’s practice of meeting with bereaved relatives of victims of violence in her native

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