Doris Salcedo is a Colombian artist who has exhibited ‘Shibboleth’, an installation consisting of a 167 meter long crack on the floor, hosted in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern. In her artworks, she has always taken inspiration from the political troubles she has experienced with her family in Colombia.
For this particular exhibition, she has won one of the most important award for contemporary art in the world, the Nomura Art Award, which prizes the artist who created the piece of art with the most cultural significance each year. It is certainly the case of the artwork of Doris Salcedo, who has built a crack on the floor of great meaning, whose depth gives the illusion of being bottomless.
The artist took over a year to complete it, and even today the way in which she did it is mostly unknown since, about the process of creation, the artist has been enigmatic. Behind the practical answers about how it was made that arouses the curiosity of the spectators, hides the true meaning of the whole piece of art. Its concrete depth is uncertain, as the she revealed: “It’s bottomless. It’s as deep as humanity”.
As Doris Salcedo commented, the crack on the floor raises the theme of the borders, which is a current political issue, despite this work was created more than ten years ago. In her she uses symbols as tool to escape from the visual obscenity of death violence.
The crack symbolizes the increasing depth which separates Europeans with their privileges of being born on the right part of the world, and the rest of humanity. “It represents borders, the experience of immigrants, the experience of segregation, the experience of racial hatred,” she said at the time. “The space which illegal immigrants occupy is a negative space. And so this piece is a negative space”.