Oscar Murillo - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Thursday, October 5, 2017 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • Provenance

    Carlos/Ishikawa, London
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    A striking blend of painting, drawing, action and installation, Just Dreams presents Oscar Murillo’s characteristically captivating and infectious dynamism. Erratic and expressive, the present work is exemplary of the Columbian émigré’s prolific and exciting artistic output.

    Recognisable within the varied and gestural canvas is the indication of the game Bingo, a gambling game reliant on the random selection of numbers. Bingo Paintings, also a distinct series within the artist’s oeuvre, typically present numbers on dirtied and heavily worked canvases in multiple parts. Here, the text ‘bingo’ when read together with the title, Just Dreams, moves the composition toward the realm of fate. This overt reference to gambling and the elevation of this to the status of a dream, a desire, suggests that the fate of man is uncontrollable. Interrogating chance and desire within the depth of the seemingly unresolved yet masterfully worked composition, Murillo questions the viewer’s destiny.

    His own fate bringing him to London at the age of ten, Murillo’s hometown in South America is central to his artistic practice. Echoing the atmosphere of a factory in Columbia, the artist’s work is saturated with reality. Through traces, marks and patterns of paint the works almost appear functional, as though portraying the random effects of factory machinery. Seeking to disintegrate social and artistic confines, Murillo humorously yet emotionally uses textural and semantic tools to entwine his individual experiences into his art. Painting lies central to his practice, though the artist often eschews the traditional brush for a broomstick to create canvases smudged with dirt, dust, and studio debris. The canvases gather studio DNA and information before being marked, assigning them an archival quality through material and linguistic surface markings. Through his use of materials the artist links contemporary and historical production, depositing an enduring sense of creation and labour throughout Murillo’s process. ‘Paintings happen in the studio where I have my own kind of system, although there can be physical residue of performance in them...The idea is to get through as much material as possible’ (Oscar Murillo, quoted in Legacy Russell, 'Oscar Murillo', BOMB Magazine, online).

    Instilling his works with a performative quality, the presentation of the canvas is central to the composition. Murillo’s own identity is ground deeply into the dirtied brilliance of the present composition’s warp and weft. The depth of Just Dreams reveals itself through examination and consideration of materiality. Immersed into the process of its creation, the viewer becomes enveloped in Murillo’s aesthetic and visual language. A vessel of energy in its crudity, Just Dreams is a celebrated example of the artist’s revered practice.


Just Dreams

oilstick, oil, concrete dye and spray paint on canvas
220 x 170 cm (86 5/8 x 66 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2013.

£150,000 - 200,000 

Sold for £187,500

Contact Specialist
Henry Highley
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4061 [email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 6 October 2017