Doris Salcedo: Untitled (2008). Wood, metal and concrete. 78 x 247 x 121 cm. (White Cube)
For Salcedo, the tension arising from the clash of materials expresses the emotional and psychological unease at the heart of her work, which is motivated by the traumatic effects of civil war on the Columbian people. The use of particular materials to express this was inspired by the work of German artist Joseph Beuys (1921-86), which Salcedo discovered while she was studying art at New York University in the early 1980s (MFA 1984). Beuys’s notion of ‘social sculpture’ – integrating political awareness with making – and his focus on materials to convey specific meanings were a significant influence on her practice.