Over 120 pairs of tables placed one on top of the other and separated by a block of earth, from which sprout slim blades of grass: this is Plegaria Muda, the latest project by Doris Salcedo. In its modular repetition, the work evokes a collective burial place and is a metaphor for sacrificial lives led on the margins of society. The artist has found inspiration by turning her gaze to the victims of massacres by the army in Colombia, her home country, as well as the violent deaths of the Los Angeles suburbs, where she conducted research and recognized the effects of the same gratuitous and meaningless violence found in every corner of the globe.
Plegaria Muda is a prayer for those people who, in situations of poverty, have no voice to speak of their existence and hence appear not to exist.
However, Plegaria Muda is also, and above all, a tribute to life: from the tables/coffins of this never celebrated funeral ritual that restores humanity to all profaned lives, plants grow to symbolize life and resurrection because, as the artist writes, “I hope that, in spite of everything, even in difficult conditions, life may win… as happens in Plegaria Muda.”
The exhibition in Rome has been organized by MAXXI Arte, and curated by Monia Trombetta. It is part of a traveling project organized by Isabel Carlos, commissioned by the CAM Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian of Lisbon and by the Moderna Museet of Malmö and produced in partnership with MAXXI, the MUAC – University Museum of Contemporary Art of Mexico City and the Pinacoteca do Estado of Sao Paolo.
15 March–24 June 2012
MAXXI – National Museum of XXI Century Arts
Via Guido Reni 4A – 00196 Rome
11–19 (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday)
Closed: Mondays, 1 May and 25 December
Misty Ericson holds a BA in English & Comparative Literature from San Jose State University, California, and an MA History of Art from University of Leeds, UK. In addition to her work on HerCircleEzine.com, which she founded in 2005, Misty enjoys painting in her studio and restoring her home in the English countryside.