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Nominal Nature

27.02 – 26.04/2015
CA2M, Madrid

Nominal Nature is an exhibition conceived as an interweaving of three pieces located at three points in the vertical axis of the museum building: the entrance area, the elevators, and the rooftop terrace, complemented by a performative talk titled Pabellón in the ground floor auditorium. The pieces review the way processes of cultural representation “name” Nature according to different agendas and the interests of different instances of power, which dominate the construction of the historical, social and political reality in Colombia. The proposed works mobilize notions related to the cultural colonization during Modernity, the tensions between the different cultural territories superimposed on the same geography, and a critical approach to the instances of power. The nominal character of notions of nature proposed by the pieces delve into how cultural processes underlie and delineate said notions, to the point of replacing them.

The five artists that integrate the exhibition – Adriana Salazar, Milena Bonilla, Luisa Ungar, Carlos Bonil and Alberto Baraya – have been researching the need to name the outer limits of dominating cultural representations in the construction of the historical, social and political reality of this country, which, since its independence process started at the beginning of eh 19th Century, has remained symbolically united to notions of Nature. The idea of Natural History as a basis of national narratives was crucial for the foundation of the National Museum of Colombia, which was initially called the Natural History Museum, and which based its first collections on natural remnants, initially from vegetation and the mineral world.
The pieces gathered in this project combine different media, practices and processes, which bear similitude with the activities upon which the knowledge of Nature was built during Modernity, for the purpose of which they articulate methodologies that come from the field of science transposed to other realms.

On the ground floor are the works of Milena Bonilla and Adriana Salazar. Bonilla’s piece, entitled Consumo legal, is based on the relationships between Native Americans’ sacred plants and later cultural representations that have completely altered their understanding and value. Adriana Salazar effects subtle interventions with withered plants which she animates with motors and threads, in order to simulate a return to life. In the elevator, there is a sound piece by Carlos Bonil, entitled Carga máxima, which brings to mind the natural wear of the mechanism which moves it upwards and downwards. On the rooftop terrace, we find Alberto Baraya’s piece, which is a hothouse of artificial plants, full of tropical species. The exhibition is completed with the conference/performance by Milena Bonilla and Luisa Ungar, with the title Pabellón, which engages the history of the World Fair in Modernity, but eventually becomes a story that cannot be told. These five pieces are strongly related with the way in which the latent discourses in the processes of naming the different instances of power can be resisted.

Artists: Alberto Baraya, Milena Bonilla, Adriana Salazar and Carlos Bonil
Curator: Jaime Cerón

This post is also available in: Spanish