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Doris Salcedo: "Palimpsest"

9 October 2022 until 17 September 2023

In a large-scale installation, the Fondation Beyeler presents Palimpsest by internationally acclaimed Colombian artist Doris Salcedo. Born in Bogotá in 1958, with her objects, sculptures and large site-specific interventions Salcedo addresses the ever-repeating cycle of violence, outrage, remembrance and forgetting. Palimpsest is dedicated to the refugees and migrants who over the past twenty years have died attempting dangerous journeys across the Mediterranean or the Atlantic in search of a better life in Europe.

The title of the exhibition project derives from the ancient Greek word Palimpsest, which refers to manuscript pages that were reused several times over the course of antiquity and the Middle Ages. The traces of the original sentences remained partly visible under the new script, which made the transmission of the old texts possible in the first place. Doris Salcedo’s Palimpsest is a walk-through installation of sand-coloured, porous floor slabs. The work consists of two overlapping cycles of names: the names of those who died during a migration movement prior to 2010 are set off in fine sand of contrasting colour inlaid into the stone slabs; the names of those who died between 2011 and 2016 appear superimposed as drops of water that combine to form letters before seeping away again, in a constant cycle of inscription and erasure. At the Fondation Beyeler, Palimpsest is installed in the museum’s largest gallery. It comprises 66 stone slabs laid across a floor area of around 400 square metres, on which visitors are able to read 171 of the altogether 300 names.

The Fondation Beyeler will devote a large solo exhibition to Doris Salcedo from 21 May to 17 September 2023.

#BeyelerSalcedo
 

ℹ️ The work is conceived as a site of mourning, memory and commemoration, and it is very fragile. Please do not step onto the names!

Related Events

Further information on Palimpsest and art education offers

NAH DRAN (Close)  – Voices in a context of crisis, displacement and settling in.

A Fondation Beyeler podcast

 

On the occasion of Doris Salcedo’s installation Palimpsest, the podcast NAH DRAN – Voices in a context of crisis, displacement and settling in conveys personal perspectives onto the themes addressed in the artwork. In conversations with Basel-based journalist Naomi Gregoris, people involved in various initiatives in the region share their stories.

They support people living in areas of crisis and conflict, fleeing their homeland or attempting to gain a foothold in Europe. The podcast provides insights into their daily activities and experiences in a context of crisis, displacement and settling in.

All episodes can be followed at listening stations in the Wintergarten of the museum or online.

 

Duration: around 7 mins each.
Editor: Stefanie Bringezu, Fondation Beyeler Art Education
Presenting and editing: Naomi Gregoris, Basel
Production: Simon Meyer Podcastproduktion.ch
© Fondation Beyeler 2022

Go to Podcast

Doris Salcedo (*1958 in Bogotá) ranks among the most important artists of our time. In her poetic and fragile objects, sculptures and large-scale, site-specific interventions, she hones in on the ever-repeating cycle of violence, outrage, remembrance and forgetting.

Palimpsest is dedicated to the refugees and migrants who over the past twenty years have died attempting dangerous journeys across the Mediterranean or the Atlantic in search of a better life in Europe. Just like an ancient palimpsest, the walk-through installation consists of overlapping scripts: names of the drowned inlaid into the stone slabs are overwritten by further names formed by drops of water that well up and seep away. This image of a “weeping earth” brings to life the memory of those whose death risks consigning them to oblivion and offers a timeless and cross-cultural tribute to the grief and sorrow of the living.

Palimpsest is realised in close collaboration with Doris Salcedo and her studio. Project team: Diana Cortés, Carlos Granada, Fiona Hesse, Sam Keller, Julian Mintert, Andrés Sandoval, David Vogt.

 

Palimpsest, 2013-2017

27.84 x 13.56 m

Ground marble, resin, corundum, sand and water, hydraulic components

Courtesy of Doris Salcedo and White Cube

 

The work is conceived as a site of mourning, memory and commemoration, and it is very fragile. Please do not step onto the names!

rollstuhl

The barrier-free access is located in hall 13

The exhibition is generously supported by:

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