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  • Provenance

    Carlos/Ishikawa, London

  • Catalogue Essay

    “ Yeah, I use rice in Spanish. There’s also yoga, for example. Yoga is one I’m using quite ofen at the moment.” OSCAR MURILLO

    Channeling the likes of Cy Twombly and Jean-Michel Basquait, Colombian-born, London raised artist Oscar Murillo produces beautifully expressive paintings using oil sticks, spray paint and dust from his studio, what he refers to as the DNA of his creations. The artist describes his practice as stemming from a 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 in C. Wood, “Dirty Painting,” Mousse no. 35, October-November 2012). Indeed, Murillo’s works are fundamentally tied to his studio environment; they are the culmination of a process of sedimentation, accumulating in a productive stasis. Working directly on his studio floor, the mere act of walking into this environment constitutes as the work itself. The work lays in a state of permanence in a studio which is never cleaned nor tidied, elements are merely shifted and time is erased; “It’s all very much on purpose; it’s continuous process, a machine of which I’m 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 in L. Russell, “Oscar Murillo”, BOMB magazine, Winter 2013).

    Exploring various concepts in his practice, Murillo’s canvases are manifestations of a body in transit, an artist’s inquisition into the geographies of space, within the studio and out into the world beyond. The most telling of his works are those that contain text, apparent in the present lot, Untitled, 2012 used for their social implications and associations. Murillo’s use of text in his paintings illustrate the limits and the possibilities presented by language; ‘words are part of histories that are not always our own, but that we cling to’. Marking the paintings with words, as well as his social activities which become important context to his paintings, aims to suggest or become fragments of, past activities. His work essentially turns into a documented performance; therefore being read as an articulate adaptation of Murillo’s artistic intentions.

    Unlike his earlier work full of stains that almost look like the studio’s floor, his 2012 series of paintings have graffiti-esque marks that bring to mind dirt and dust, as well as liquid elements, like water stains. In Untitled, 2012, Murillo has appeared to have folded the canvas so that the word, yoga, appears as if mirrored in the paint’s absorption onto the other side of the fold. The word has gained a duality of meaning in the work; it is not only visually representative but holds a formal composition. For Murillo performance and painting are inextricably allied, exploring the functionality of displaced words, like cultural displacement with performance, in painting its material displacement, resulting in a greater poetic sensibility to his work.



debris, oil, acrylic, charcoal on canvas
195.5 x 160 cm. (76 7/8 x 62 7/8 in.)
Signed and dated 'Oscar Murillo'12' on the upper overlap.

£40,000 - 60,000 

Sold for £218,500

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

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London 16 October 2013