Oscar Murillo has developed a multifaceted and inventive art practice, which constantly probes questions of collectivity and shared culture, while being fundamentally connected to the affective qualities of different materials.
Murillo creates works with a social dimension, which exist at the border between performances and events. He has invited collaborators to participate in actions including walking through New York or travelling between UK cities carrying mateos (traditional papier-mâché figures made in Colombia), painting swathes of linen black in locations around the world, or holding a party for the cleaning staff of London’s Serpentine Galleries. Since 2013, for the durational project Frequencies, Murillo organised for over 100,000 school students to have blank canvas fixed to their desks, allowing them to freely mark, draw and write on them over a period of months. The project has so far amassed an archive of over 40,000 examples from around the world. These nuanced projects involve others as participants, as opposed to merely viewers, and point to a perpetual curiosity into complex issues of global social and economic relations, community, and spectatorship.
At the same time, Murillo’s works possess distinct and arresting material qualities. He is known for large-scale paintings which combine fragments created at different times, in different locations and using a variety of techniques, notable for their use of expressive and energetic mark-making. Murillo is also recognised for creating immersive installations, combining materials such as draped black canvas; rock-like sculptures formed of corn and clay; rusted metal bed frames; and furniture including antique church pews. These experiential and unique works, which can often be found in unusual settings, such as inside functioning churches, schools or outdoors, are testament to the artist’s commitment to the affective power of material to convey complex meditations on contemporary society.
Oscar Murillo lives and works in various locations.
Murillo was one of four artists to win the 2019 Turner Prize and whose work was exhibited at Turner Contemporary, Margate, England the same year. Some of his most prominent solo exhibitions are Oscar Murillo: Social Altitude, Aspen Art Museum 2019-2020; Oscar Murillo: Horizontal Darkness In Search of Solidarity, Kunstverein in Hamburg, Germany 2019-2020; Oscar Murillo: Violent Amnesia, Kettle’s Yard at the University of Cambridge, England 2019.
The artist’s work was on view at Haus der Kunst in 2017-2018; the CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux and Concorde, Paris and the Yarat Contemporary Art Centre in Baku, Azerbaijan presented Murillo's work in 2017. He had a couple of solo shows at the Museo de Arte de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá; Centro Cultural Daoíz y Velarde, Madrid; and Artpace, San Antonio, Texas in 2015. The artist was also part of Performa 15 in New York, where he presented Lucky dip in 2015. He presented work in 2014 at 40mcube in Rennes, France, organized as part of the 4th Les Ateliers de Rennes – Biennale d'art contemporain and at The Mistake Room in Los Angeles. The South London Gallery hosted the artist's first major solo show in the United Kingdom in 2013. The work created during his residency at the Rubell Family Collection in Miami, marked his first solo exhibition in the United States in 2012. He has also exhibited work at the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco (2016), Showroom MAMA, Rotterdam (2013), and the Serpentine Galleries, London (2012).