Oscar Murillo - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Tuesday, November 10, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Carlos/Ishikawa, London

  • Catalogue Essay

    "It’s not about leaving traces, it’s about letting things mature on their own—like aging cheese or letting a stew cook, they get more flavorful. That’s kind of how these paintings are made.” Oscar Murillo, 2013

    Oscar Murillo’s edgy compositions and swift rise to fame have led some to refer to him as the 21st century Basquiat. His work is a combination of painting, performance and installation. Oftentimes a finished piece is comprised of off-cuts from larger sheets that were stretched across his studio floor and endured intensive month-long spats of dying, mark-making, and coloring. Each work carries what he refers to as the "DNA" of his studio - particles of dirt, dust, and debris. Murillo's hands-on approach might be traced back to his roots of growing up around the sugar industry of Colombia where his mother and father worked, or his own stint working as a custodian to fund his education.

    As seen in the present work, Murillo sometimes includes a word that creates a friction between its meaning and the visual surface of the piece. Here one sees the word fresa, which in Spanish means strawberry. Connotations for the word "strawberry" might include refreshing and delicious associations such as juice, health, vitality, and taste. Adding another layer to the work’s interpretation is the use of fresa as slang in Mexico for a preppy individual from the upper class. These associations are at odds with Murillo's composition, playing against the grit and grime of the studio floor, as well as the intensive labor of the artist, all of which are visually embedded in the fabric of the work.



oil, oil stick and dirt on canvas
overall 90 1/2 x 116 1/4 in. (229.9 x 295.3 cm)
smaller 66 1/4 x 76 1/4 in. (168.3 x 193.7 cm)
larger 90 1/2 x 90 5/8 in. (229.9 x 230.2 cm)

$200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for $245,000

Contact Specialist
John McCord
Head Day Sale
New York
+1 212 940 1261

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

New York Auction 10 November 2015 11am