Prosthetic Realities:
Fake Truths and True Lies in Colombian Contemporary Art

David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies
Harvard University
September 9, 2015 - March 1, 2016

Featuring works by David Ayala-Alfonso, Juliana Escobar and William Gutiérrez; Nicolás Cadavid; Simón Hosie; Camilo Cáceres, Juan Pablo Castiblanco, Paola Díaz and Fernanda Malaver; Pedro Manrique Figueroa; Luis Ospina y Carlos Mayolo; Lucas Ospina; and a special curatorial invitation to Peter Arhe.

In spite of the long history of the relationship between art and deception, there is a mode of lying in contemporaneity that is particular to our times, and that Professor Carrie Lambert-Beatty has identified as the parafictional: “Fiction or fictiveness has emerged as an important category in recent art. But, like a paramedic as opposed to a medical doctor, a parafiction is related to but not quite a member of the category of fiction as established in literary and dramatic art. It remains a bit outside. It does not perform its procedures in the hygienic clinics of literature, but has one foot in the field of the real. Unlike historical fiction’s fact-based but imagined worlds, in parafiction real and/or imaginary personages and stories intersect with the world as it is being lived.”[1] As Lambert-Beatty points out, parafictions are in varied ways experienced (even if only for a moment) as facts of life.

"Prosthetic Realities" is an exhibition that highlights parafictional works produced by Colombian artists in the past four decades. It identifies connections between pieces that have only been considered in isolation, in an effort to facilitate readings of the phenomenon that are particular to the Latin American experience. It also aims at suggesting dialogues between local and global ‘ways of lying’. 

A show organized around works and artists that never existed for real, "Prosthetic Realities" will combine documentation about the conception, reception, and circulation of those parafictional pieces with objects and works of art produced to back them up.

The academic programming that will accompany the exhibition will explore the parafictional phenomenon beyond the borders of the Colombian production into other Latin American and Latino cases.

[1] “Make Believe: Parafiction and Plausibility,” October 129 (Summer 2009)


PRE-TEXTS workshop with Simón Hosie in collaboration with Cultural Agents at Harvard University
February 23, 2016 (photos by Pilar Vicuña)