Istanbul Project I


Doris Salcedo ( Colombian, 1958 )


Alexander and Bonin

more object details

General Description

Istanbul Project I is a visual record of a public installation Salcedo created for the 8th International Istanbul Biennial. In the bustling streets of Istanbul, amidst businesses and residences, one suddenly encounters a wall of chairs that fill a narrow empty lot between two buildings. Comprised of thousands of interlocked wooden chairs, Salcedo's work rises to the height of a small building. As a wall of timber legs, the piece is both permeable and yet impenetrable to the viewer. Riddled with dichotomies, Salcedo plays upon presence and absence, structural integrity and collapse, the new and the old, the domestic and the organic, despite their combined colossal scale.

Representing an artist's installation as well as presenting a startling visual conundrum, Salcedo's art arises from the political and social maelstrom that has characterized the country where she was born and lives, Colombia. Salcedo depicts upheaval, violence, and disruption through jarring juxtapositions of everyday objects whose character has been altered, and in this case, literally thrown together and upended. At once a possible site of torture and an integral element of everyday domesticity, Salcedo's chairs are startling in their intensity when fused together; this print adds a compelling, not easily forgotten image to contemporary depictions of displacement, loss, and despair.

Adapted from

Anna Katherine Brodbeck, ed., TWO X TWO X TWENTY: Two Decades Supporting Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art), 2018, 60.

Web Resources

  • Art 21
    Watch a short video about Salcedo's Istanbul Project.