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Doris Salcedo Cracks Tate Modern Gallery

 - Oct 12, 2007
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As visitors to the Tate Modern gallery in London enter the galleries giant turbine hall, they are confronted with the disturbing sight of a giant crack. Starting as a small fissure, the 167 metre fracture grows wider and deeper as it snakes the entire length of the hall.

Created by Columbian artist Doris Salcedo, the piece is titled "Shibboleth," after a Biblical massacre in which members of a defeated tribe were identified for slaughter based on the way they spoke. The artist describes the sculpture as laden with meaning as deep as the crack itself. It represents the divide and gap between Europeans and the rest of mankind.

Personally I enjoy the concept of creating a sculpture that is more about the space it does not fill, rather than the space it actually occupies. It is in effect a hole. An empty space, that due to it's dynamic and powerful nature created a piece that is thought provoking and demands time and contemplation to get the most out of it. In this respect it is very different from some of the previous commissions to the yearly installation, that have been more immediately involving of the viewer, such as the giant slides by Carsten Höller.

The crack, cast in concrete and lowered into a hole dug along the length of the hall will be filled in next year, leaving a permanent and giant scar.