International Sculpture Center
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Sculpture cover

June 2013
Vol. 32 No 5

A publication of the
International Sculpture Center
*Read the full article online!
Life Might Prevail: Doris Salcedo’s Plegaria Muda
by Laura Tansini
Doris Salcedo’s Plegaria Muda is a passionate cry of denunciation against injustice, crime, and abuse and a mute prayer for a better world. A space to commemorate victims of murders perpetrated all over the world, it honors people whose only fault is to have no rights, or graves to mark their existence. It also offers “hope” because—as Salcedo says—“life might prevail.” Though generated by acts of violence, Salcedo’s installation invites us into a contemplative stillness. It does not tell stories of individual victims, but gives voice to a collective trauma that has opened wounds across an entire social fabric. Plegaria Muda steps beyond private, anonymous invisibility and confronts us with the repressed, unfathomable grief unleashed when violent death is reduced to insignificance, part of a “strategy of war.” Salcedo explains how, for months, she “accompanied a group of mothers who were searching for their disappeared sons and identifying them in the graves revealed by the murderers.” Her hope is that “this work can, to some degree, evoke each death and restore its true dimension, thus allowing these profaned lives to be returned to the sphere of the human.” At the threshold of Plegaria Muda, which was recently shown at Rome’s MAXXI, we refrain from thinking, breathing, or moving, aware that we are entering a different world...

Noviembre 6 y 7, 2002. Lead and steel, dimensions variable.

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