La Casa Viuda

Salcedo’s interviews with displaced rural Colombian women forced out of their homes in search of safety resulted in the series La Casa Viuda. Doors without buildings, unmoored from their foundations, evoke the loss of home and lack of shelter that these families were forced to endure.

The title of the series, roughly translated as “the widowed house,” furthers this sense of loss and disruption to the domestic sphere. Embedded within or joining the pieces of furniture, one finds other material remnants that evoke the human presence: a child’s toy chair, human bone, and articles of clothing. Using a strategy employed throughout her work, Salcedo creates uncanny experiences out of the seemingly familiar. As such, the house is transformed into a space of mourning.

la_casa_viuda View larger

Wooden door, wooden chair, clothing, and thread
221316 x 23½ x 15316 in. (57.8 x 59.7 x 38.7 cm)
Worcester Art Museum (MA), Gift of the Friends of Contemporary Art, 1994.241
Image © Worcester Art Museum

la_casa_viuda View larger

Wooden door, wooden chair, clothing, and thread
221316 x 23½ x 15316 in. (57.8 x 59.7 x 38.7 cm)
Worcester Art Museum (MA), Gift of the Friends of Contemporary Art, 1994.241
Image © Worcester Art Museum

la_casa_viuda View larger

Wooden door, wooden cabinet, wood, steel, clothing, and bone
Four parts, overall: 102¼ x 31⅜ x 23¾ in. (259.7 x 79.7 x 60.3 cm)
Collection Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, gift from the Volunteer Committee Fund, 1997
Photo: Carlo Catenazzi

la_casa_viuda View larger

Wooden door, wooden cabinet, wood, steel, clothing, and bone
Four parts, overall: 102¼ x 31⅜ x 23¾ in. (259.7 x 79.7 x 60.3 cm)
Collection Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, gift from the Volunteer Committee Fund, 1997
Photo: Carlo Catenazzi

la_casa_viuda View larger

Wooden door, wooden cabinet, wood, steel, clothing, and bone
Four parts, overall: 102¼ x 31⅜ x 23¾ in. (259.7 x 79.7 x 60.3 cm)
Collection Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, gift from the Volunteer Committee Fund, 1997
Photo: Carlo Catenazzi

la_casa_viuda View larger

Wooden door, wooden cabinet, wood, steel, clothing, and bone
Four parts, overall: 102¼ x 31⅜ x 23¾ in. (259.7 x 79.7 x 60.3 cm)
Collection Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, gift from the Volunteer Committee Fund, 1997
Photo: Carlo Catenazzi

la_casa_viuda View larger

Wooden doors, wooden bed frame, and clothing
Two parts: 101¾ x 34 x 2⅜ in. (258.5 x 86.4 x 6 cm) and 32¾ x 34 x 2 in. (83.2 x 86.4 x 5.1 cm)
Private collection

la_casa_viuda View larger

Wooden doors, wooden bed frame, and clothing
Two parts: 101¾ x 34 x 2⅜ in. (258.5 x 86.4 x 6 cm) and 32¾ x 34 x 2 in. (83.2 x 86.4 x 5.1 cm)
Private collection

la_casa_viuda View larger

Wooden door, wooden bed frame, clothing, and bone
102516 x 18½ x 13 in. (259.9 x 47 x 33 cm)
Museum of Modern Art, New York, Committee on Painting and Sculpture Funds, Latin American and Caribbean Fund, and gift of Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

la_casa_viuda View larger

Wooden door, wooden bed frame, clothing, and bone
102516 x 18½ x 13 in. (259.9 x 47 x 33 cm)
Museum of Modern Art, New York, Committee on Painting and Sculpture Funds, Latin American and Caribbean Fund, and gift of Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

la_casa_viuda View larger

Wooden doors, steel chair, and bone
Three parts: 74⅞ x 39 x 18½ in. (190.2 x 99.1 x 47 cm); 62⅞ x 47 x 22 in. (159.7 x 119.3 x 55.8 cm); and 62½ x 38 x 18½ in. (158.7 x 96.5 x 46.9 cm)
Collection of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, gift of Shawn and Peter Leibowitz, New York, to American Friends of the Israel Museum
Photo: D. James Dee

la_casa_viuda View larger

Wooden doors, steel chair, and bone
Three parts: 74⅞ x 39 x 18½ in. (190.2 x 99.1 x 47 cm); 62⅞ x 47 x 22 in. (159.7 x 119.3 x 55.8 cm); and 62½ x 38 x 18½ in. (158.7 x 96.5 x 46.9 cm)
Collection of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, gift of Shawn and Peter Leibowitz, New York, to American Friends of the Israel Museum
Photo: D. James Dee