Critical Writing Index

At the Site of State Violence: Doris Salcedo's and Julieta Hanono's Memorial Aesthetics

by Lori Cole

Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies, 2011, no. 15, pp. 87-94

The author focuses on projects by the Colombian Doris Salcedo and Argentine Julieta Hanono, two contemporary artists whose work maps the bodies of victims lost to state-dictated violence onto the actual spaces that contained the historical traumas. Examining Salcedo’s Noviembre 6 y 7, a memorial to the 1985 victims of the siege on the Palace of Justice and the ensuing massacre in Bogotá, and Hanono’s El pozo, a video installation depicting the space where the artist was imprisoned for two years as a victim of the Argentine military secret police during the Videla dictatorship, Cole reflects on how these artists memorialize violence through a phenomenological relationship to site that at once centralizes the absent body and invites viewers to participate in a collective historical reflection. Although Salcedo and Hanono utilize different materials and approaches to framing historical memory, they both rely primarily on physical space to evoke haunting memories of state violence. In these pieces, the conspicuous absence of any physical bodies invites the viewer to imagine space as a medium for political critique.

NOTE: Though the author discusses the relationship between Salcedo's and Hanono's work only the work of Hanono's work is listed below because it is video-based.

ITEM 2011.088 – available for viewing in the Research Centre

Videos, Artworks and Artists Cited

El pozo (The pit)Julieta Hanono