If POP-Art transferred supermarket products, comics, movie stars and animated cartoons alike to the artistic, exhibition space, or the banal objects of daily North American line, Nadín Ospina help himself from the POP tray and he chooses the contrivances he finds useful, turning them around in his “pop-colonialism”, by which he sacrilegiously modifies objects, which in a way have kept a certain aura, with the features of these new gods, originated in the North American mass-culture and now belonging to the world-wide mass culture.
It is known that the use of Mickey and Donald, and other animated characters, is not new. Roy Lichstenstein had done drawings of them as early as 1955, and his sixties paintings with related themes are well known. The Equipo Crónica from Spain had also stolen then famous mouse for sequences in lino cuts around 1965. However, Nadín Ospina’s work is not a transposition from the comic strip world to art, or a reproduction of a given sequence for its own sake, there is a long reflective process around the meaning of the character within the contemporary imaginary of a continent that receives – and, one must admit, receives willingly – and endless invasion of massified referents. Artists like Enrique Chagoya, a chicano, place themselves in a similar line, using Mickey in a more symbolic manner. Ospina, though, take this process to its extreme consequences, systematically proposing monstrous figures with a pre-colombian body and a disneylandic head. This acts exactly in a symbolic or metaphoric form of the identitary process of the Latin American continent: an autochthonous root is still kept to a large extent, an attachment to an inherited multiple identity, but over which hovers another process located within the unequal cultural exchange. This is promoted in a way by the lack of interest in supporting expressions originated in the local popular culture, and by the desire of inclusion into the North’s referential system.
Excerpt form “Nadín OSPINA: the art of authentic fraud (or deceit on behalf of truth),” written by Virginia Pérez-Ratton in May of 2001, published in the catalogue Nadín OSPINA – POP-Colonialismo.