About the part that art plays in a globalising society

Framer Framed

24 Mar 2019
15:00 - 16:30

Lecture: Mieke Bal - Of What One Cannot Speak: Doris Salcedo

On 24 March, critic and theorist Mieke Bal will present a lecture on the work of renowned Colombian artist Doris Salcedo, at Beautiful Distress House in Amsterdam-Noord. The event takes place in the framework of exhibition HERE/NOW: Current Visions from Colombia, curated by Carolina Ponce de León.

Artist Doris Salcedo addresses the politics of memory and forgetting in work, which embraces fraught situations in dangerous places. Critic Mieke Bal narrates between the disciplines of contemporary culture in order to boldly reimagine the role of the visual arts. Both women are groundbreaking figures, globally renowned and widely respected. Doris Salcedo, meet Mieke Bal.

In Of What One Cannot Speak, Bal leads us into intimate encounters with Salcedo‚Äôs art, encouraging us to consider each work as a ‚Äútheoretical object‚ÄĚ that invites‚ÄĒand demands‚ÄĒcertain kinds of considerations about history, death, erasure, and grief. Bal ranges widely through Salcedo‚Äôs work, from Salcedo‚Äôs Atrabiliarios series‚ÄĒin which the artist uses worn shoes to retrace los desaparecidos (‚Äúthe disappeared‚ÄĚ) from nations like Argentina, Chile, and Colombia‚ÄĒto Shibboleth, Salcedo‚Äôs once-in-a-lifetime commission by the Tate Modern, for which she created a rupture, as if by earthquake, that stretched the length of the museum hall‚Äôs concrete floor. In each instance, Salcedo‚Äôs installations speak for themselves, utilizing household items, human bones, and common domestic architecture to explore the silent spaces between violence, trauma, and identity. Yet Bal draws out even deeper responses to the work, questioning the nature of political art altogether and introducing concepts of metaphor, time, and space in order to contend with Salcedo‚Äôs powerful sculptures and installations.

An unforgettable fusion of art and essay, Of What One Cannot Speak takes us to the very core of events we are capable of remembering‚ÄĒyet still uncomfortably cannot speak aloud.

Beautiful Distress House
Ms. van Riemsdijkweg 41a, Amsterdam

Doris Salcedo – Shibboleth. Tate Modern 2007

HERE/NOW: Current Visions from Colombia is on view at Beautiful Distress House until 3 April, and at Framer Framed until 30 June 2019.

Colombia / Global Art History /


Exhibition: HERE/NOW - Current Visions from Colombia

Twenty artists presenting contemporary art and photojournalism created in the context of Colombia.


Finissage: HERE/NOW at Beautiful Distress House
The exhibition at Beautiful Distress House is on view until 3 April, at Framer Framed until 30 June.
Symposium: HERE/NOW Current Visions from Colombia
At Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, in the context of exhibition HERE/NOW at Framer Framed and Beautiful Distress House