A close-up of one of Salazar’s installation tables at the Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana. Seen here: an array of hip replacement pieces.
For centuries, artists have been obsessed with death. From elaborate Egyptian tombs to early Christian paintings of martyred saints — to contemporary artists, who use everything from dead sheep to stuffed goats in their work.
One artist, however, is taking the practice a step further. Adriana Salazar creates work that examines what happens to our remains after we die. Enter the back room at the Grand Central Art Center in downtown Santa Ana and you’ll find a hushed, dimly-lit gallery. Five wooden tables display tidy rows of metal scraps. There are old screws, bent rods and small piles of rusty wires.
Salazar retrieved the pieces from a crematorium in Orange County. The metal bits on the table are medical implants, which were once inside living bodies. “Your body is governed by laws even after you’re dead,” says Salazar. “You’re still submitted to regulations about your remains. What are your remains? What aren’t your remains? What is people supposed to do with your remains? And what is definitely forbidden?”