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  • Provenance

    Carlos/Ishikawa, london

  • Catalogue Essay

    “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.” OSCAR MURILLO

    Oscar Murillo’s works stretch across a variety of media. Sculpture, film, performance and painting have all been repeatedly explored by the London based artist. In his art, Murillo makes allusions to social displacement, cultural history and artistic process, with profound and striking results. Often displaying wrought and agitated surfaces, his works throb with energy; giving clear testimony to the vigorous and highly visceral process by which they are conceived and making for emotive and thought-provoking viewing.

    Murillo was born in 1986 in the small town of La Paila, in Columbia, where his family worked in the local Sugar Mill. At the age of ten, he and his clan immigrated to London, where the artist would come to study at the Royal College of art. Whilst still a student, the artist was already receiving great attention, for his bold and varied works. Over the past few years, he has gone on to appear in a number of acclaimed solo and group exhibitions including those at Isabella Bortolozzi (Berlin), Art Basel, Carlos/Ishikawa (London), MAMA Showroom (Rotterdam), Rubell Family Collection (Miami), Serpentine Gallery (London), Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín (Colombia).

    Drawing upon his Columbian heritage, Murillo makes direct references to South American culture and emblems in his art. The rough, patched surfaces of his paintings bear the name of produce such as ‘Maize’, ‘Pollo ’ and ‘Coconut’ daubed across their frames while many of his performance pieces incorporate the playing of Columbian music and serving Columbian food. Despite this, Murillo’s art also betrays a sense of cultural displacement. Bestowing his works with oblique titles, which subtly draw upon notions surrounding race and discomfort, the artist imbues his art with a sense of exclusion and uncertainty, creating an undeniable tension.

    Murillo’s artistic practice is a highly familial and collaborative one, with a number of the artist’s family members assisting him in his studio and featuring in his films. For the artist’s highly publicized Park Night 2013 show 'The Cleaners, Late Summer Party with Comme des Garçons’ at the Serpentine gallery in London, aunts, uncles and cousins of the artist came together in a large dance spectacle, mingling and engaging with those that came to watch. This show aimed to replicate the parties Murillo’s relatives had traditionally held in Columbia whilst he was growing up. Simultaneously this spectacle made a highly personal allusion to the cleaning industry, which many of his family members had been a part of, and which Murillo himself had gone into, as a means of supporting himself through Art College.

    It is painting which forms the backbone of Murillo’s works. Hand stitching his canvases together the artist relies heavily upon accident and chance in the creation of his works detritus and dirt are allowed to imprint upon the surfaces of his works, producing grubby and distressed results. As the artist has stated, "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—like aging cheese or letting a stew cook, they get more flavorful. That’s kind of how these paintings are made." (Oscar Murillo, by Legacy Russell BOMB 122/Winter 2013, ART) In Untitled a group of footprints spread across the bottom half of the picture plane in a faint, murky pattern, imbuing the piece with a sense of dynamism and suggestion of happenstance. The rest of the surface holds an array of smudges and smears further stressing the sense of chance which radiates from the work. The right hand side of the work bears a deep, red panel which vibrates against the off-white surface of the rest of the work. Bold and visceral this piece encapsulates the principal elements of Murillo’s brash and lively style.



oil, dirt, oil stick, spray paint on canvas
214 x 171 cm. (84 1/4 x 67 3/8 in.)

£60,000 - 80,000 ‡ ♠

Sold for £98,500

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
[email protected]
+44 207 318 4063

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Evening Sale 10 February 2014 7pm