To mark the opening of Zaratán, a new series of works by artist Oscar Santillan, commissioned for Para | Fictions, we host an in-conversation between the artist and Witte de With curator Natasha Hoare. The pair will discuss the informing elements of the installation including the lasting influence of literary titan Jorge Luis Borges, the discovery of ‘blind film’ from the tragically cut short shoot of a Russian feature film The Messenger, and Santillan’s pursuit of the island of Baneque; charted off the coast of Mexico by naval explorers throughout history, but recently disappeared.


Zaratán is a new commission by artist Oscar Santillan (1980, Ecuador) presented at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art as part of Para | Fictions. The presentation is the outcome of months of research that started in Russia and ended in the Dominican Republic. Creating parallel realities to Borges’ literary creations, Santillan animates and materializes the imaginary, eschewing empirical definitions of materiality and existence. Read more.

Para | Fictions

29 January 2016 – 9 April 2017
Zaratán is part of Para | Fictions, a cycle of sustained investigations taking as its focus the relationship between literature and visual art through the practice of ten artists; Daniel Dewar & Grégory Gicque, Calla Henkel & Max Pitegoff, Mark Geffriaud, Laure Prouvost, Oscar Santillan, Dineo Seshee Bopape, Lucy Skaer and Rayyane Tabet.

Each project on display presents a different artistic methodology, constituting a combination of each artist’s visual interests and literary underpinnings, to seek the viability of repositioning ‘reference’ as ‘form’, ‘translation’ as ‘co-authorship’.

—Supported by

Para | Fictions is supported by AMMODO.