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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Segmented into four discrete abstract zones that chime with centrifugal energy, Oscar Murillo’s Untitled deftly exhibits the defining features of the artist’s radical oeuvre. Here we see painting and drawing reduced to their most base and visceral components: the frenetic scrawl of raw oil stick on untreated canvas; the emphatic power of primary colours; and the semiotic intrigue of text presented at its most graphically potent state. Amongst the best earliest examples, Untitled is a paradigm of Murillo’s idiosyncratic folding method, as the canvas has been dissected into quarters, each representing a unique chapter of his extensive creative process. Murillo’s canvases may live on the floor of his studio for months, bearing the marks of their partial or accidental working overtime, before they are modulated into complete works of art. His unique reformulation of process splinters the creative moment over time, through acts of intentional labour and pure chance. As a final addition to the process, in a radiant yellow oil, here Murillo graces the canvas with one of his most iconic, enigmatic phrases. Playing with the Spanish word ‘pollo’, Murillo has reproduced the word through his unique folding technique to create a curiously playful palindrome superimposed over a buzzing abstract universe. It is with these semantic games of representation that Murillo extends on the expressive legacy of automatism, adding an entirely new conceptual dimension the act of painting.

    Drawing on the enigmatic impact of words as a subject for painting, as explored by Christopher Wool, in Untitled we see Murillo as his most inventive regarding the semantic games that he plays with text. Whilst ‘pollo’ (Spanish for ‘chicken’) speaks to his Columbian heritage, here its simple value as a signifier is confused. It is created by painting half of the word (‘pol’) then folding the canvas in two whist it is still wet, re-printing the word as a mirrored image that is dissected along a vertical axis of the work, readable from both left and right. This reifies the crucial theme of displacement in Murillo’s work: ‘For me the words are very displaced. Like cultural displacement with performance, in painting its material displacement, object displacement… I also like to think that these paintings also imply a displacement of time.’ (Oscar Murillo in conversation with Legacy Russell, BOMB Magazine, No. 122, Winter 2013, online.) Born in 1986, in a small mountain-side town of La Paila in South East Columbia, Murillo moved to London with his family when he was just 10 years old, experiencing a vastly different urban topography in the cosmopolitan British capital. Presenting his magnetic canvas as an accumulated process of collected gestures and aggregated histories, Murillo crafts within Untitled a unique ontology for the medium that manifests as a visually enthralling experience.

    Instantly recognisable and wholly unique, Murillo’s erratic and dynamic scrawl conjures a maelstrom of aesthetic energy that radiates both in and outside of the frame, substantiating a vision of contained creative chaos. Expressing passion and violence in the rich red scratches, deep mystery in his favoured marine blue loops, and jubilant ecstasy in the golden yellow text, Murillo’s oil stick harnesses painterly gesture at its most primal and emotive. Murillo’s freehanded and impassioned mark making pays partial homage to the legacy of Abstract Expressionism. The action painting of Jackson Pollock is evoked alongside the signature scrawl of Cy Twombly, who also combined the freedom of rhythmic line with choice words – a legacy extended by Neo-expressionist painter Jean-Michel Basquiat. But unlike these painters, Murillo consciously embeds within his practice the sense of pure automatism and chance that was pioneered by surrealists such as André Masson. Murillo’s canvases bear an embedded history that align them with the ready-mades of Marcel Duchamp, having spent up to two months lying on the floor of his studio, left to gather dust, footprints and detritus that he refers to as DNA: 'My studio is a cradle of dust and dirt, of pollution. I don’t tidy up at the end of each production process. It’s all very much on purpose; it’s continuous process, a machine of which I’m the catalyst. Things get moved around, I step on them, and they get contaminated. It’s not about leaving traces, it’s about letting things mature on their own’ (Oscar Murillo in conversation with Legacy Russell, BOMB Magazine, No. 122, Winter 2013, online.)

    Much like the cigarette butts that can be found in the surface of large scale paintings by Pollock, or the crucial layer of dust that Duchamp let collect on his masterpiece The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors over 8 years between 1915 and 1923, Untitled draws into its surface the weight of time and a holistic approach to the creative process. As an innovation that dominated his canvases around 2012, here Murillo’s graffiti-like marks are undoubtedly performative, but the canvas is envisioned as being in a constant state of creation, bearing the ephemeral marks of its lifecycle. Murillo sees expressive painting not merely as a grandiose shrine to the valorised creative moment, but a historic monument to temporality itself. Looking to simultaneously compress and stretch time, the artist fulfils his ‘desire to inhabit an environment where the multiple realities of that space, say, its materiality, its potential usages, its history, are all simultaneously active.’ (Oscar Murillo, quoted in C. Wood, ‘Dirty Painting’, Mousse Magazine, no. 35, October 2012, p. 107.)

  • Catalogue Essay


    正如克里斯托弗·伍爾所探索過,《無題》運用文字作爲繪畫主題所起的高深莫測效果,見證了穆里略把玩文字與語義遊戲最獨出心裁的一刻。儘管「pollo」(西班牙語譯爲「雞」)體現了藝術家的哥倫比亞傳統,而它作爲最基本語意符號的作用於此被混淆。首先在畫布上繪製這個詞的一半「pol」,隨後趁畫布仍然溼潤的情況下對摺畫布,將這個詞沿着垂直軸線以鏡像方式重新印在畫布上,形成左右均可閱讀的模式。這個創作過程將穆里略作品中的關鍵主題錯位體現得淋漓盡致:「於我而言,文字時常詞不達意。例如表演中的文化錯位、畫作中的媒材錯位、主題錯位…我也傾向於這些畫作暗示着時間錯位。」(奧斯卡·穆里略與Legacy Russell對談,BOMB雜誌,第122期,2013年冬季刊,線上版)。於1986年,出生於哥倫比亞東南La Paila的一個臨山小城鎮,穆里略十歲時隨家人搬至倫敦居住,在英國首都這個國際大都市中體會到迥然相異的城市景觀。穆里略將其獨具魅力的作品化作一個累積過程,融入收集而來的風情與匯聚而成的故事,在作品《無題》中爲這些材料精心研製出一套本體論,並營造一場視覺盛宴。

    極具辨識度且獨一無二,穆里略古靈精怪且活力滿滿的塗鴉營造一陣美學漩渦,畫裡畫外都熠熠生輝,呈現出一種泰然自若的創造性混沌。以濃郁的紅色劃痕表現熱忱與猛烈,以其最爲喜愛的海藍色環形呈現深層奧祕,以金黃色文字帶來歡呼雀躍的狂喜,穆里略的油畫棒以最爲原始且極具感染力的方式運用寫意姿態。穆里略無拘無束且慷慨激昂的創作一定程度上向抽象表現主義致敬。傑克遜·波洛克的「行動繪畫」受到賽·托姆布雷標誌性塗鴉的啟發 ,後者也利用精選文字融合韻律十足的線條的自由——這是新表現主義藝術家尚·米榭·巴斯奇亞所拓展的藝術財富。然而不同於這些藝術家,穆里略在創作中融入備受安德烈·馬松等超現實主義藝術家所倡導的偶然自發性與機緣巧合感。穆里略的作品融入與馬塞爾·杜尚現成品息息相關的歷史,這些作品在其工作室地板上停留長達兩個月,累積藝術家稱之爲DNA的灰塵、腳印與碎屑:「我的工作室是灰塵、污染的搖籃。我在每次創作過程后並不整理工作室。這些都是有意為之;它是一個持續的過程,而我是這台機器的催化劑。東西被搬來搬去,我會踩在上面,他們會變髒。這與留下痕跡並不相關,而是讓事物以自己的方式發育成熟」(奧斯卡·穆里略與Legacy Russell對談,BOMB雜誌,第122期,2013年冬季刊,線上版)。


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Property of a European Collector


oil, oil stick, graphite and dirt on canvas
190 x 170 cm. (74 3/4 x 66 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2012.

HK$700,000 - 900,000 

sold for HK$1,187,500

Contact Specialist
Jonathan Crockett
Deputy Chairman, Asia and Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Asia
+852 2318 2023

Isaure de Viel Castel
Head of Department
+852 2318 2011

Sandy Ma
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+852 2318 2025

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 25 November 2018