The works by Doris Salcedo relate to the following event:
On 6 November 1985, a commando of the guerrilla movement M-19 raided the Supreme Court in Bogotá and took everyone inside hostage. Without negotiating, the army and police force attacked the building with tanks and helicopters, etc., and set it on fire. Altogether, 53 Justice Department employees and visitors died, including 11 Supreme Court judges, as did all 35 guerrillas.
In No 45 of his Columna de Arena, José Roca wrote about the two installations:
The first is a series of chairs made of steel, wood, resin and lead, which are scattered in a large room as the remnants of a tragedy, melted together at the armrests, the seats or the legs. The other installation is a room crossed diagonally by the elongated lead chair legs, so that a space is created which relates to the tragedy (charred pieces of furniture, piled on top of each other). At the same time, their presence prevents access to the room, putting the viewer in the position of a powerless witness, or in the situation of "a glimpse that comes too late" - as Alfredo Jaar said in relation to photography of violence.
Pieces of furniture are elements which are in daily contact with the body. Their form and dimensions are like a continuation of it, which allows for a metonymical substitution of the furniture (in this case of the chairs) through the absent body.
(Translation: Holly Austin)