"Atrabiliarios" (1992-93)

"Atrabiliarios," 1992-93
Shoes, animal fiber, and surgical thread, dimensions variable
Collection of The Pulitzer Foundation, St. Louis, Missouri
Photo by Robert Pettus
© Doris Salcedo
Courtesy the Alexander and Bonin, New York

"There are words that cannot be translated. Atrabiliarios is one of those words. It’s a word that is no longer in common use; you don’t hear it. It’s a nineteenth-century word that was used in Colombia to refer to the behavior of people during the civil wars of the nineteenth century. And I was using it in an ambiguous way. It means ‘people that are defiant’ or of that temper. Those words are really weak. This is a very strong word in Spanish— and I was using it both in terms of the
ones that had disappeared and the ones that had been disappeared."
-Doris Salcedo