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b. 1986, Colombia

Oscar Murillo Biography

Born in La Paila, Colombia, Oscar Murillo emigrated to the United Kingdom with his family as a child. He studied at the Royal College of Art in London, during which time he also worked as an office cleaner to support himself. Upon graduating in 2012, Murillo quickly developed a reputation for his stitched paintings; since then, his reputation has expanded to include drawings, sculptures, installations, films and performances, guided by the artist's fascination with the fluid concepts of identity, community and binaries.

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Sewn together using old sewing machines, Murillo's stitched canvases are often covered in oil paint (applied with a broomstick) and unconventional materials including paper pulp, thread, cement dye and dust. They also frequently show traces of shoe soles and dirt from the artist working on the floor in his studio. Text also often features, including as single words such as 'chorizo', 'yoga' and 'milk', written in large letters and bright colours or black in a series of untitled paintings from 2012.

Murillo's experience as an immigrant has been a driving force in his works that explore themes of displacement and identity. meet me! Mr Superman (2013–15)—shown at his 2015 solo exhibition binary function at David Zwirner in London—is a film that follows the artist's friends in La Paila on the morning of New Year's Day. Shot from a point-of-view perspective, the film highlights the artist's disparate identities: originally born as a Columbian but now living in the United Kingdom, Murillo becomes a temporary visitor in his old hometown.

Another recurrent theme in Murillo's work is a concern with postcolonial and socioeconomic disparities. In 2016, while on his way to the 20th Biennale of Sydney Murillo flushed his British passport down the toilet as an impromptu performance that challenged the notion of privilege bestowed upon certain passports. He was detained at the airport upon arriving in Australia and, despite having his Colombian passport, was deported two days later. Murillo similarly commented on present-day colonial tendencies in international biennials through his work The Coming of the Europeans (2017), a large-scale banner across which the title is repeated, conceived for the inaugural Kathmandu Triennale in 2017.

In 2018, Murillo turned his attention to consumption and labour in Collective Conscience (2018), a large-scale installation conceived for the 10th Berlin Biennale. In the courtyard of Akademie der Künste, Murillo placed industrial ovens that baked rock-like loaves that, after they left the ovens, were sheathed inside long fabric garments. Some of the fabrics were inscribed with workers' slogans and maps of trade routes, bringing attention to the disenfranchised labourers behind the production of commodities that permeate our everyday life.

Murillo has exhibited internationally at David Zwirner, Hong Kong (2018); YARAT Contemporary Art Centre, Baku (2016); Centro Cultural Daoíz y Velarde, Madrid (2015); Showroom MAMA, Rotterdam (2013); South London Gallery (2013); and the Serpentine Gallery, London (2012), among others. At the 56th Venice Biennale (2015), the artist displayed works from his 'Frequencies' project (2013–ongoing). The project involves dispatching blank canvases to schools around the world to be completed by students between 10 and 16 years of age.

Murillo lives and works in East London.

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2018


Oscar Murillo Featured Artworks

manifestation by Oscar Murillo contemporary artwork
Oscar Murillomanifestation, 2019–2020Oil, oil stick, cotton thread, and graphite on canvas and linen
190 x 160 cm
David Zwirner Contact Gallery
manifestation by Oscar Murillo contemporary artwork
Oscar Murillomanifestation, 2019–2020Oil, oil stick, cotton thread, and graphite on canvas, velvet, and linen
320 x 415 cm
David Zwirner Contact Gallery
manifestation by Oscar Murillo contemporary artwork
Oscar Murillomanifestation, 2019–2020Oil, oil stick, cotton thread, and graphite on canvas, velvet, and linen
270 x 280 cm
David Zwirner Contact Gallery
manifestation by Oscar Murillo contemporary artwork
Oscar Murillomanifestation, 2019–2020Oil, oil stick, cotton thread, and graphite on canvas, velvet, and linen
250 x 280 cm
David Zwirner Contact Gallery

Oscar Murillo Current & Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, 20/20 at David Zwirner, 20th Street, New York
Open Now
29 October–19 December 2020 Group Exhibition 20/20 David Zwirner20th Street, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Oscar Murillo, News at David Zwirner, Paris
Open Now
21 October–19 December 2020 Oscar Murillo News David ZwirnerParis
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Miami Online | Online Viewing Room at David Zwirner, Online Only, New York
Closed
2–8 December 2019 Group Exhibition Miami Online | Online Viewing Room David ZwirnerOnline Only

Oscar Murillo Represented By

David Zwirner contemporary art gallery in 19th Street, New York, USA David Zwirner New York, London, Paris, Hong Kong

Oscar Murillo In Ocula Magazine

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How to Support Artists and Galleries Impacted by the Beirut Explosion Ocula News How to Support Artists and Galleries Impacted by the Beirut Explosion Beirut, 13 August 2020

An Instagram account selling works donated by artists including Ali Cherri and Charwei Tsai is among the initiatives raising funds.

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Galleries Augment Basel Online With Clicks-and-Mortar Exhibitions Ocula News Galleries Augment Basel Online With Clicks-and-Mortar Exhibitions Berlin, 16 June 2020

In Berlin, where the pandemic permits, digital viewing rooms are being remade offline. Elsewhere, galleries are mounting ever richer online presentations.

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Who is Max Mara Prize Winner Emma Talbot? Ocula News Who is Max Mara Prize Winner Emma Talbot? London, 11 March 2020

Talbot will undertake a residency in Italy as the recipient of Britain’s only major prize for female visual artists.

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Art Basel Launches Online Showrooms After Cancelling HK Show Ocula News Art Basel Launches Online Showrooms After Cancelling HK Show Hong Kong, 21 February 2020

With tens of millions in China confined to their homes, galleries and institutions have likewise pivoted to online events.

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Oscar Murillo In Related Press

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Turner Prize Nominees Consider the Injustices Brought About by Borders Related Press Turner Prize Nominees Consider the Injustices Brought About by Borders 14 November 2019, Hyperallergic

MARGATE, England — Every year the Turner Prize judges trawl through dozens of exhibitions around the world to find new and fresh voices in contemporary art. The four nominees are then presented in a group show, and part-way through a winner is announced and awarded the £25,000 (~$32,000) prize. If the Turner Prize tries to capture the...

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Turner Prize 2019 Review: The Roots of Our Political Crisis Go Far Beyond Brexit Related Press Turner Prize 2019 Review: The Roots of Our Political Crisis Go Far Beyond Brexit 27 September 2019, Frieze

All four artists nominated for this year's Turner Prize draw on political histories: some wide-ranging, others highly localized; one contained within the last decade, another drawing on a text from the early 15th century. With one subtle exception, none of them are directly exploring the themes that emerged after the electoral shocks of 2016...

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Throwing open the gallery doors: the art world darlings keeping it real Related Press Throwing open the gallery doors: the art world darlings keeping it real 27 September 2019, The Art Newspaper

Both Oscar Murillo and Alvaro Barrington are proof that even major art market players can still keep it real. Colombian-born Murillo is known for working with his immigrant family and communities that have nothing to do with art, and in the weeks leading up to his current exhibition at Carlos/Ishikawa, he installed a working kitchen in the...

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TURNER PRIZE 2019 SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED Related Press TURNER PRIZE 2019 SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED 1 May 2019, Artforum

Tate Britain announced today the four artists who have been shortlisted for the 2019 Turner Prize: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock, Oscar Murillo, and Tai Shani. The artists were nominated for works that investigate crime, explore social histories, and transport viewers to another time and place.

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Oscar Murillo In Video & Audio

Episode 13 | Oscar Murillo and Charles Henry Rowel Related Video & Audio Episode 13 | Oscar Murillo and Charles Henry Rowel 21 November 2019, David Zwirner

This episode pairs artist Oscar Murillo with the editor Charles Henry Rowell for a conversation about class, race, art, and the African cultural diaspora that is one part history lesson and one part personal history

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Cut & Paste: Oscar Murillo and Modou Dieng on when art gets political Related Video & Audio Cut & Paste: Oscar Murillo and Modou Dieng on when art gets political 25 October 2018, St. Louis Public Radio

Artist Oscar Murillo's installation now on view at Kranzberg Arts Foundation evokes a very strange political protest, one in which no single cause is apparent but it's clear that passions run high.

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