About the work
Carolina Ponce de León writes in the magazine Poliéster of Mexico: " He wins the prize of the XXXIV National Salon of Colombian artists, the most important contest of Colombia, with a work entitled: "In Partibus Infidelium" (In lands of infidels) that recreates a museum installation of "pre-Columbian" objects imagined with new "ancient" forms, manufactured by contemporary natives and set with jungle painted walls and cicada noises...
"The jury of the event was made up of Luis Camnitzer, Gloria Delgado, Diego Mazuera, Ivonne Pinni and Edward Sullivan.
In "In Paribus Infidelium" (1992), color is at the service of parody, simulation and irony; its aesthetic function becomes more complex and serves as a vehicle for subtle messages that contain clues to enrich its meaning. It is a multimedia installation in which the spectator's participation becomes an enriching interaction. To inhabit, to interpret, to doubt, to question, are ways of extending the work in a sensorial, cognitive, aesthetic and intellectual dimension.
In this work the color is simulation, simulation of the jungle, simulation of the original material of pre-Columbian ceramics; the red of the seeds, an ironic allusion to the earth, to the natural, to the real in the face of the simulacrum.
With the production of the work In Partibus Infidelium (In the lands of the infidels) in 1992, a radical shift began. The work, a scenographic montage that parodied the aesthetics of archeological museums, introduced a series of radically new proposals and concepts in the Colombian context.
In a technical sense, it initiates the presence of works articulated for exempt spaces in the scope of the National Salon of Colombian Artists; at the time, the requirement of a closed and controlled space for a multimedia installation, was something not contemplated; in fact, during the Regional Salon prior to this event, my work Katal Huyuc was not shown in an adequate way because the person in charge of the assembly at the time, refused to build a special enclosure for its installation.
In Partibus Infidelium is often associated with philosophical concepts of postmodern theories.
Strategies such as appropriation, simulation, radical questioning of authorship and the role of the artist as physical producer of the work, are part of its discursive elements.
The work, produced at a time of great opportunism in the face of the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America, attempted to to disarticulate the neo exoticisms and the political and patriotic appeals to an ungraspable past as an emblematic strategy.
Carolina Ponce de León wrote an edition dedicated to appropriation in Poliéster Magazine, Mexico, in December 1995:
In 1992, Nadín Ospina won the top prize at the National Salon of Colombian Artists, the country's the most important contest, with a work entitled In Partibus Infidelium (In the Land of the Infidels), which recreated a museum installation of "pre-Columbian" objects imagined with new "ancient" forms, made by contemporary indigenous people and set with painted jungle walls and the sounds of cicadas and frogs.
It was a parody of the reconstruction of the past in the decontextualizing environment of the museum that imposes an aseptic, aesthetic and denaturalizing gaze on objects of religious function: the museum as a sacred space stages a stylization of the pre-Columbian past and idealizes a historical coherence that obliterates the bloody episodes of the Spanish Conquest.
The museum establishes a new grammar for the objects: it articulates them within a value system that has little to do with their original significance and much to do with the need to satisfy the demands of simulation as the only possible reality. It is a means to consolidate identity seisms of happy pasts and futures traced on these actions. In this game of mirrors of the original and the appropriation; of the contemporary and El Dorado -invented to be eternally lost-; of history and fiction, of representation and simulation, this work by Nadín Ospina unfolds. Art becomes the postmodern option of religious configuration (from the Latin religare: to unite again).