Oscar Murillo, a futile mercantile disposition, 2016. Courtesy of David Zwirner, New York/London.

Capsule 07: Oscar Murillo

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Exhibition overview

In only a few years, Oscar Murillo has developed an exciting contemporary artistic practice. While he primarily uses the medium of painting, he radically defies its conventions: within his presentations, he integrates video and drawing, sculpture, installation and performative elements, creating works that are inherently intense, immediate and visceral. In Oscar Murillo’s installations, the viewer finds themselves within an intelligent, highly aesthetic and simultaneously existential interaction dealing with the understanding of work and play, production and consumption, original and appropriation, center and periphery, as well as the relationship between material and transcendence. 

While a few years ago, Oscar Murillo’s projects often bordered on social experiments, his latest installations are distinguished by a tentative exploration of space through gestures in painting, and therefore historic, economic, social and philosophical associations. His expansive, extremely dense installations comprise heavy, partly torn and re-sewn canvases. Painted with black oil paint and draped on steel constructions that recall autopsy tables, or hung like laundry on clotheslines, they reorganize space. Scales hung from industrial hooks, akin to memento mori, conduct a  taxonomy of measurement. A mix of clay and corn adds unwieldy sculptural touches, like vital signs. Floor, walls, the room itself and the intricacy of perspectives within it merge into a vibrant constellation, a metaphor for transformation. The joy, intensity and fragility of life, with all its irreconcilable simultaneities, become visible, palpable.

The project Frequencies will also be realized during Oscar Murillo’s exhibition at Haus der Kunst. Frequencies is an ongoing collaborative project by the artist together with family members and the sociologist Clara Dublanc, as well as schools in a number of countries. Over the course of six months, canvases will be stretched on school desks, encouraging schoolchildren to leave behind their traces, sketches and ideas.

Oscar Murillo was born 1986 in La Paila, Colombia, and lives and works in London and La Paila.

Capsule 07 is curated by Anna Schneider.