Doris Salcedo Atrabilious 1992-93

  • Not on view

Salcedo describes herself as a “secondary witness” to the protracted civil war in Colombia and makes work that honors its hundreds of thousands of victims and that confronts those who perpetrate these conflicts. In Atrabilious (which means “melancholy” or “ill temper”) she encased worn women’s shoes in niches covered with a scrim made from stretched cow’s bladder. The shoes stand in for the people who have disappeared over the course of the conflict. Seen behind their murky, membranous coverings, the shoes resemble old photographs or saintly relics. “I cannot fix any problem[s]. I can do nothing. It’s a lack of power,” Salcedo has said. “But then as a person who lacks power, I face the ones who have power and who manipulate life. It’s from that perspective—of the one who lacks power—that I look at the powerful ones and at their deeds.”

Gallery label from Contemporary Art from the Collection, 2011.
Wall installation with plywood, shoes, cow bladder and surgical thread, six niches
Overall 30 x 70 1/4 x 5 1/8" (76.2 x 178.4 x 13 cm)
Gift of Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis
Object number
© 2024 Doris Salcedo
Painting and Sculpture

Installation views

We have identified these works in the following photos from our exhibition history.

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].