In particular, Salcedo is addressing a long legacy of racism and colonialism that underlies the modern world. A ‘shibboleth’ is a custom, phrase or use of language that acts as a test of belonging to a particular social group or class. By definition, it is used to exclude those deemed unsuitable to join this group.
‘The history of racism’, Salcedo writes, ‘runs parallel to the history of modernity, and is its untold dark side’. For hundreds of years, Western ideas of progress and prosperity have been underpinned by colonial exploitation and the withdrawal of basic rights from others. Our own time, Salcedo is keen to remind us, remains defined by the existence of a huge socially excluded underclass, in Western as well as post-colonial societies.
In breaking open the floor of the museum, Salcedo is exposing a fracture in modernity itself. Her work encourages us to confront uncomfortable truths about our history and about ourselves with absolute candidness, and without self-deception. (5)
When I saw this work none of this came to me don't think successful in that way, I still don't. When I originally saw it, which was exhibited in 2007 so I would have been 9, but still remember seeing work. Remember getting down on knees and being surprised by how deep it was and walking along it with one food on either side. Now when I see images of the piece I still feel it fails to communicate the message it states above. This however to me does not make it an unsuccessful piece, infact I find it highly successful. I didn't realise how superficial the crack was when I visited. Now I can see that it is made to purposely look like two pieces of a puzzle that would fit together perfectly, like my graphs.
The concrete block casts of the art work cost £23,410 to ship across South America and then the Atlantic Ocean in four 40ft containers.
The work has caused controversy among the public as it appears to just be a crack in the ground - supposedly resembling an earthquake fissure.
Charles Thomson, of the Stuckists, an anti-modern art group, said the work was "typically self-deluded and pretentious" of the art world, who are far removed from reality in their ivory tower.
He said: "It's a ridiculous amount of money to spend on what is essentially a novelty that will be of no interest in the future.(6)
Researching peoples perceptions of the piece gave me the impression I was not the only person who failed to see the comment on society. The red text made me laugh because it's true it is a crack in the ground, and that's all, but that's what makes it appealing to me. The process of cracking something has large connotations with breaking, it is almost like a massive scar down the hall. To purposely break, or in some ways destroy, becoming something that I find visually appealing (almost decoration) is almost a contradiction. If there was a massive crack down a wall in my house it wouldn't be taken as art, but the context and the space makes the piece art. Salcedo has almost struck the Turbine hall and is playing with its space.
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