Oscar Murillo - New Now London Thursday, December 12, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin
    Private Collection, Northern Germany (acquired from the above in 2012)

  • Catalogue Essay

    At just 33 years-old, Oscar Murillo has built an impressive oeuvre that coalesces complex notions of identity, cultural plurality and geographic dislocation. In the wake of numerous successful solo shows, including violent amnesia, at Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge, Oscar Murillo l Zhang Enli, at chi K11 Art Museum, Shanghai, and his participation in the 10th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art in 2018, he has been selected as one of four artists to compete for the prestigious Turner Prize in 2019. His clever, humming paintings are as large and momentous as they are physically vibrant; they tell a story in abstract forms that are more evocative than they are mimetic. In perhaps there‘re easier ways (I) OM/MM, 2012, materials are enmeshed to the point of total confusion and blur; the stained cloth’s various dark swathes suggest painterly flows and migrations, extending on the larger-than-life support as if crossing boundaries. The work crystallises a crucial moment in Murillo’s practice; it was notably created the year that Murillo graduated from the Royal College of Art in London, and a year prior joining David Zwirner’s stable of artists, thus seizing a snapshot of his meteoric rise before reaching the heights we know of his career today.

    Born in Colombia in 1986 to parents who worked in sugar and candy factories, Oscar Murillo moved to London with his family just under two decades ago, at the age of ten, speaking little to no English. His peripatetic life has proven that he is no stranger to the act of roving, and a sense of velocity is often found embedded in his works as a result. His art seems to run, fly, oscillate and vibrate – but never sit still. While he started out studying at the Royal College of Art, supplementing his income by working as a cleaner at London’s Gherkin building, he soon soared as the contemporary art world’s new radiant child, following in the footsteps of his prodigious predecessor Jean-Michel Basquiat. Murillo’s art immediately caught the eye of eminent collectors and institutions, such as the Reuben Family, who saw in him the raw, authentic visual language that had originally distinguished Basquiat’s painterly output in his time. With a practice heavily centred on process – at times employing recycled materials and fragments collected from his studio – Murillo has proven that his art flourishes parallel to life. ‘I think in what I do… I endeavor to strive for a sense of authenticity’, the artist has said. ‘Dirt is real and is everywhere; it is accessible whether in the streets of London or in the villages of Colombia, dirt is democratic and free, so a dirty canvas is an extension or a reality even if you romanticize it’ (Oscar Murillo in conversation with Catherine Wood, ‘Oscar Murillo: Dirty Painting’, Mousse 35, October-November 2012, p. 109).


perhaps there‘re easier ways (I) OM/MM

paper collage, tape, gravel, acrylic and mixed media collage on stitched linen
235 x 323 cm (92 1/2 x 127 1/8 in.)
Executed in 2012.

£40,000 - 60,000 

Contact Specialist
Simon Tovey
Specialist, Head of New Now Sale
+44 20 7318 4084

New Now

London Auction 12 December 2019