Irreverence in Ospina’s work

By María Elvira Ardila A.

When you enter the Museum of Contemporary Art “Minuto de Dios” of the (Minute of God) you get surprised, it is a place where a young cultural movement is developing, where the pigeonholes do not count, nor any line or any school in particular. This week an exhibition by Nadín Ospina was inaugurated, which is located on the third floor of the museum.

An irreverent work, sustained by an almost trans-avant-garde concept and with humor. This last element often turns into irony. Dismembered men or fragments next to pink flowers, the last samurai who is transformed into a Saint Sebastian, who is not pierced by arrows, but by acupuncture needles. The Victory of Samothrace appears on the scene.

Sculptures-paintings that merge, made in polyester resin Ospina says: “it is a material that allows a lot of freedom, it is light, resistant and technically offers possibilities of execution that are difficult to achieve through other media”.

In an expressionist way and as an “action painting” the painting covers the objects and even the artist himself at the moment of the culmination of his work. The color takes possession of the work.

After traveling through the history of art and passing through the Gothic, Asia and America, the artist arrives to our continent discovering the carnival, the masks, the party, the playful, the dance, the erotic. The color is strong aggressive, reds, yellows, blacks that evoke the “fury of our climate”.

Sisyphus or the tapir

The creator is trying to find himself in our environment, in our world, in Latin America, in the Amazon, from there he rescues the tapirs and transmuting this animal into Sisyphus, a Greek king condemned to climb a huge stone to the top of a mountain, from where it fell again and again, he creates a sculpture where a mountain appears and on top of it a tapir.

An ecological proposal, a protest against the extinction of these animals, or a game of irony and humor? With this we can say that Ospina’s work has many readings. He says in this regard: “I am trying to find meaningful things in my environment, things that are really worthwhile, there is so much garbage and so much fallacy imposed by the media and consumerism, which makes it difficult to see reality”.

And he is right in thinking that our truth is so simple, that it is there and we do not see it. Our geographical reality, our climate, our culture are unknown to most of us. “My works are signs of that reality that we have and we don’t see. The Amazon, for example, is something very much ours and what we don’t think about, we prefer to see the problems of Europe and North America, it’s a terrible lack of rootedness.”

The rupture

The common denominator of Ospina’s work is a rupture of unity. The work can appropriate any space, it can work with any element, even if it is waste. The work of art becomes something more dynamic, it appropriates space, three-dimensionality and often fragments.

The aim is to break the boundaries between painting, sculpture and architecture. He relates that his first works were very special (1982 Salon) very spatial installations. “I continue to do installations, but I also allow myself to do more conventional sculptures and canvases. There is nothing I have to do, to the exclusion of other possibilities. I like to give myself all the freedom and not to work with programs. In any case, intuition has the last word.


Ospina’s characters appear fragmented: torsos are heads that apparently transmit aggressiveness. However, their meaning is to represent the fragility of the human condition, of the ephemeral. “The beings that I represent seem to be absent-minded heroes who resist a process of destruction”.

Cavarnalesque, erotic beings like “Atrapagatos” belong to our culture and to the carnival of Barranquilla.

He has found within this fantastic world a way to see art in a universal way, he affirms that the conceptual argumentation of postmodernism was something that helped him to discover himself and made him see more possibilities, after all it was possible and any way where it is tried is valid.

We find ourselves before an irreverent artist willing to challenge, to risk against the rules, to present a work splashed with strength. His yellow figures stuck on the wall like the Bering Strait through which the first inhabitants of this continent passed, or his painting with toy airplanes dropping bombs. The present, the contemporary, the rescue of what is ours, the American magic comes together in Ospina’s work.

He is not afraid to make mistakes, he takes risks and makes a valid proposal backed by his work and his concept. I think Ospina’s work is honest, risky and free of contamination.

Note: correspondence in this section please address it to A. A. 51178 of Bogotá.