Currents 121: Oscar Murillo showcases new paintings created in the artist’s Colombian hometown, La Paila, where he has resided during the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout this time, Murillo channeled his artistic energy into the creative and physical act of painting. The resulting works—on view in the exhibition—are part of an ongoing series of large-scale paintings titled Manifestation (2018–), characterized by bold, forceful swaths of bright blue and deep red paint obliterated by furious black marks made with an unmistakable physicality.
The works combine the traces of an individual’s act of painting, embodied in Murillo’s hand with a thoughtful, personal witnessing of world politics. For Murillo the idea of physical presence and gesture in painting is connected to the act of using one’s body to demonstrate dissent in the face of power. In fact, the term manifestation is used in several languages to describe political protest.