Oscar Murillo



Artist: Oscar Murillo
Title: Carlos Ishikawa Members Club                                          Year: 2014
Medium: Oil on Canvas, paint cement, mixed media balls 25cm
Dimensions: 270 x 270 cm Canvas

The work challenges the loss of identity and culture as financial means changes the move in social classes, thereby triggering the move to members clubs as a need for “belonging” remains but countered with the need to discern by success.


Oscar Murillo’s calligraphic mixed-media paintings and sculptural objects illustrate his fascination with failure, incompleteness, and the studio experience. Using work taken from the peripheries of his studio, typically left on the floor to gather dust, dirt, and fluid stains, he restructures these objects into new creations: paintings initially discarded as failures are appropriated and reconfigured as an opportunity to explore archaeology, ruin, and failure itself. Though conceptually different, Murillo’s calligraphic aesthetic evokes the signature style of Cy Twombly.

Colombian, b. 1986, La Paila, Colombia, based in London, United Kingdom

Oscar Murillo‘s large-scale paintings imply action, performance, and chaos, but are in fact methodically composed of rough-hewn, stitched canvases that often incorporate fragments of text as well as studio debris such as dirt and dust. His paintings, video works, and performances are tied to a notion of community stemming from the artist’s cross-cultural ties to London, where he currently lives and works, and Colombia, where he was born in 1986.

Murillo earned his B.F.A. in 2007 from the University of Westminster, London, followed by his M.F.A. in 2012 from the Royal College of Art, London. He joined David Zwirner in 2013 and had his inaugural exhibition, titled A Mercantile Novel, at the gallery in New York the following year. binary function marked his first solo presentation at David Zwirner, London in 2015. On view September 14 through October 22, 2016, the gallery in New York presents through patches of corn, wheat and mud, a solo exhibition of the artist’s new work.

An upcoming solo show of Murillo’s work is planned for the fall of 2016 at the Yarat Contemporary Art Centre in Baku, Azerbaijan. The artist is currently participating in the 2nd Hangzhou Triennial of Fiber Art 2016 in China and the 3rd Aichi Triennial. Homo Faber: A Rainbow Caravan in Japan. Later this year, his work will be included in the 5th Anyang Public Art Project (APAP) in Korea.

Murillo’s works and projects have been the subject of solo exhibitions at prominent institutions worldwide. Most recently, presentations were held in 2015 at the Museo de Arte de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá; Centro Cultural Daoíz y Velarde, Madrid (part of ArcoColombia 2015); and Artpace, San Antonio, Texas. Also in 2015, as part of Performa 15 in New York, Murillo presented Lucky dip, a series of performances and installations that took place over the course of one week at the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, an important historical site in downtown Manhattan. In 2014, Murillo’s paintings, sculptures, and video works were presented at 40mcube in Rennes, France, organized as part of the 4th Les Ateliers de Rennes – Biennale d’art contemporain. Also in 2014 a body of work was presented at The Mistake Room in Los Angeles on the occasion of the venue’s inaugural exhibition. In 2013, the South London Gallery hosted the artist’s first major solo show in the United Kingdom. In 2012, he created paintings on site during a five-week summer residency at the Rubell Family Collection in Miami, which were shown later that year marking his first solo exhibition in the United States. Other venues that have exhibited his works and projects include the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco (2016), Showroom MAMA, Rotterdam (2013) and the Serpentine Gallery, London (2012).

Murillo participated in numerous international group exhibitions, including the 6th Marrakech Biennale: Not New Now; the 20th Biennale of Sydney: The future is already here—it’s just not evenly distributed; and Towards a Larger World at Moderna Museet, Stockholm. Previous group exhibitions include those held in 2014 at The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.), Ghent; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, Antwerp.

For Murillo’s ongoing long-term project Frequencies, created in collaboration with members of his family and political scientist Clara Dublanc, canvases are temporarily affixed to classroom desks in selected schools across the globe, encouraging students aged ten to sixteen to create any kind of mark making—drawing, writing, doodling. He recently debuted the Frequencies project with a large-scale installation of canvases as part of the 56th Venice Biennale: All the World’s Futures in 2015. In conjunction, David Zwirner Books published a comprehensive book, standing as a directory of the project to date, which includes reproductions of canvases and photographs of schools and students.