London; Oscar Murillo ‘binary function’ at David Zwirner gallery

by Venetia Kapernekas

A short visit in London, highly recommended,  the Oscar Murillo’s first exhibition at David Zwirner gallery in London; includes new paintings and drawings as well as sculptural, sound, and film elements.  A strong exhibition,  which I found incredibly poetic.

IMG_7877installation view, Oscar Murillo ‘binary function’ David Zwirner London gallery, @photoVK
IMG_7881installation view, Oscar Murillo “binary function’ David Zwirner London gallery, photo@VK
IMG_7879installation view, Oscar Murillo, ‘binary function,  David Zwirner London gallery, photo@VK

A major new installation in the upper galleries comprises large, heavily painted black canvases (made of several sewn-together fragments and reminiscent of leather hides) suspended across the gallery, piled on top of one another on steel pallets, and also strewn across tables. An adjacent canvas, one of a series of new figurative works in the exhibition, depicts a painting Murillo encountered in a collector’s home in Bogotá—showing a young boy selling fish—against Regency-style wallpaper and antique furniture. Murillo’s physical engagement with his materials has an anthropomorphic effect, which in turn contextualizes the installation within the socio-political landscape of post-colonial Colombia. Intensified by the subtle smell of oil paint and the presence of decomposing corn sculptures, its corporeal and abject nature creates a thought-provoking viewing experience that aims to destabilize the codified conditions of display present within the initial painting. (gallery press)

IMG_7883installation view, Oscar Murillo, ‘binary function, David Zwirner London gallery, photo@VK


OM-binary-function-7-600x389meet me! Mr. Superman, 2013-2015
Video projection, 1:16 min (loop), color, sound

The exhibition includes a new video projection that depicts a street scene in Murillo’s hometown of La Paila, Colombia, in which people are seen chatting, drinking, and dancing to live music. Filmed by the artist on New Year’s Day, its footage shifts between documentary and experimental styles, using both wide-angle and detail shots that, at times, abstract the figures’ bodies into a chaotic arrangement of imagery, color, and movement.

Oscar Murillo was born in 1986 in La Paila, Colombia. He lives and works in London, where he earned his B.F.A. in 2007 from the University of Westminster, followed by his M.F.A. in 2012 from the Royal College of Art. In 2013, the artist joined David Zwirner. His first gallery solo exhibition, titled ‘A Mercantile Novel’, was presented at David Zwirner, New York in 2014, on 19th street, where Murillo converted the Chelsea space into a fully operational candy factory, modeled on the one in La Paila, importing everything from actual workplace signage to a real production line.


gallery installation view from Oscar Murillo’s exhibition David Zwirner gallery New York  ‘A Mercantile Novel’
April 24 – June 14, 2014 @david zwirner gallery, NY

….Soft-spoken and shy, Murillo works alone, without assistants, in a scrappy one-room studio in East London, where canvases, oil paints and debris cover the floors, and irons and sticks are strewn everywhere. He uses old sewing machines to stitch together squares of canvas, which he  then flattens with an iron, often painting their surfaces with a stick rather than a brush.  (Carol Vogel. at the NYTimes, “Art World Places Its Best, March 16, 2014- Oscar  Murrillo show at the NY Zwirner gallery )


installation view, Oscar Murillo, David Zwirner London gallery, @davidZwirnergallery

The gallery will host a conversation between Oscar Murillo and Jack Tan at Frieze art fair on Saturday, October 17, at 11 am.

‘binary function’ at David Zwirner gallery, London