Nefandus is a trilogy that investigates pre-Hispanic and colonial homoeroticism. Carlos Motta has created three video essays (Nefandus, Shipwreck and The Defeated, all from 2013) documenting the forced imposition of European epistemological categories during and after the conquest of the Americas. The work in the MACBA Collection, Nefandus, follows two men as they canoe down the Don Diego River in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, in the Colombian Caribbean. One is indigenous, the other a Spanish-speaker, and they recount stories of abominable (nefandos, hence the title) sins and crimes, and acts of sodomy that took place in South America during the Spanish conquest. ‘This is a conquered river and an accomplice; its clear waters disguise scarred riverbeds where pre-Hispanic ethnic groups saw their bodies floating.’ Although it has been documented that the Spanish conquerors used sex as a weapon of domination, what do we know about homoerotic traditions in the pre-Hispanic world? How did Christian morality transform the indigenous peoples’ relationship to sex? Nefandus observes the landscape, its movement and its sounds to obtain clues to stories that have been ignored in many historiographical accounts.

Visit the exhibition