Home » “I like to investigate and mix our culture with others”: Nadín Ospina

“I like to investigate and mix our culture with others”: Nadín Ospina

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“I like to investigate and mix our culture with others”: Nadín Ospina

Nadín Ospina is one of the many Colombian artists who have left the name of the country very high in the international sphere. Characterized by making figures based on pre-Columbian art, he has exhibited since 1981 in Colombia, the US, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico, Spain, the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark.

In the mid-nineties, Nadín Ospina made a series of sculptures that he called “The Great American Dream”. After being publicly exhibited, critics described the artist as “political irony”, since, through his work, he endowed Using a pre-Columbian formal language, Ospina generated a series of reflections on representation, identity, colonization and transculturality.

Ospina is a painter and sculptor known for his personal adaptation of pop culture and aesthetics to elements and symbols drawn from pre-Columbian art and prehistory. Among his most repeated characters are Mickey Mouse and Bart Simpson.

He recently inaugurated an exhibition at the University of Barranquilla, a huge sculpture in the square of the engineering building which he called “Atlante”

Regarding this exhibition, EL NUEVO SIGLO spoke with Ospina to learn more about this piece and his artistic career inside and outside Colombia.

THE NEW CENTURY: Why use the image of Bart Simpson in your works?

NADÍN OSPINA: This piece corresponds to a previous collection, a classic work within my stylistic process from 2015 to 2020. It is a series that I called at that time “The great American dream”, some bronze pieces that are particularly large, sculptures two meters high, very significant because they are works that make a comment in many critical cases, because the work always has a very ironic incisive sense around cultural superimposition. It is an image of pop culture (Bart Simpson) that represents the North American culture that influences through the media, fused with other cultures, such as the pre-Columbian, an example of this is the “Atlantes de Tuluá” (Valle del Cauca ), very significant, which provides us with a comment on how the social reality of our contemporary cultures is included in the environment.

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ENS: Why merge pre-Columbian culture with others, what motivates you to make those connections?

NO: I like to pay attention to the cultural issue, I like the investigation of the identity of our cultures and the comparison with others, marginal, peripheral. We are very strongly permeated through the media by a generic, dominant culture, which economically and politically overlaps with the rest of the world. They are paradigms more than symbols of capitalist ideologies, in this predetermining sense, at the same time I focus on finding a culture in a world that is confronted every day with that economic reality and somehow at some point merges with a collective interest.

ENS: Where did this interest in designing large sculptures come from?

NO: All my life I have liked to create, I have always been a sculptor and one of the fundamental characteristics in the process is the desire to produce pieces for public spaces and in that sense, through the various techniques that can be presented in a sculptor, the Casting in bronze is an established traditional technique that provides characteristics of durability, guarantee and sustainability for public spaces.

ENS: One of your best-known exhibitions was “I am another you”, what did you want to convey with these pieces?

NO: It is a series that I showed three years ago at the Anthropological Museum of Madrid and they are pieces that speak about the other, from a philosophical point of view. It has to do with the encounter of the foreign that reaches our personal instances through the media and that in many cases we reject for a whole cultural construction, of protection, of confinement of certain elements of security, politics and economics, through the symbolization of us as an alien taken from pop culture in the media. In this second order, which was very good in the 50s and 60s in the United States, pre-Columbian culture once again reveals to us the idea of ​​intercultural encounters and their fusions.

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ENS: In your exhibitions you also talk about the environment with nature, with the work “The preponderance of the small”. Is it another topic to explore?

NO: That was a very long production process, because all my work has to do with elements of culture and is manifested as the symbols of some elements that are part of our pre-Columbian identity, where the representation that we find in gold or ceramics it is closely associated with nature, with the birds of our natural environment. So it is an ecological call, a very intense call for us to look at that small presence such as the birds that are in our environment, that sometimes we do not pay attention to and in turn is an invitation to look at the other. Because in many cases we do not consider what is around us, we do not take into account that neighbor, on the contrary, we underestimate him. This collection invites us to question how we see ourselves, who we think we are, on what we base our differences and similarities with others, what are the lines that define our idea of ​​ourselves.

ENS: In your long career, what has been the best thing about being a recognized sculptor?

NO: Being alive and being able to do everything I like has allowed me to do many things as an artist and as a person. I have been able to work at all times and do the things that I like, I have done everything with the greatest satisfaction, let’s say that due to the communicative power that my series have had, it has been able to influence the cultural world.

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about the artist

The Colombian artist who turned pre-Columbian into pop. He is a contemporary art teacher born in Bogotá, famous in the world for mixing popular culture with pre-Columbian culture, that which seems so far away and almost always rejected. It should be noted that he was the winner of the XXXIV National Salon of Artists of Colombia in 1992 and obtained first prize at the Salón del Fuego Fundación Gilberto Alzate Avendaño in 2004, among others.

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