Between England and Colombia
Oscar Murillo is a young artist (born in 1986) who lives between London and the village where he was born in Colombia, and he truly is a multifaceted figure.
Sharing the Turner Prize
There’s been a lot of talk about him lately, especially in Britain, because after being nominated for the Turner Prize at the end of 2019 he and the other three nominees (Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock and Tai Shani) decided they would share the prize collectively. Their decision was accompanied by a statement relaying reactions to the current chaotic times: “We are honoured to be supporting this bold statement of solidarity and collaboration in these divided times. Their symbolic act reflects the political and social poetics that we admire and value in their work”.
Oscar Murillo is a rebel artist. He explains this gesture:
It was some years ago that he first got people talking about him in the context of the art market. He was the subject of dizzying speculation and had just joined the roster of the powerful Zwirner gallery. It’s never good to be famous for the money you represent. Many things have happened since then and he has taken part in numerous exhibitions including the Venice Biennale.
I met him in an elevator in Hong Kong while Art Basel Hong Kong was taking place. He was mischievous, informal, and full of doubt (see the report here). I met him again several times (see the report). I don’t understand everything in his work, and he himself admits that he is still looking for things, but I think his works that blend the abstract with the figurative and play with different techniques on canvas are creating something new – and that’s rare – in the tradition of Sigmar Polke, despite the fact that he works with different aspects.
Over the past ten years, Oscar Murillo has also been developing a project in collaboration with 10 to 16 year old students from around the world. http://frequenciesproject.net/
In Colombia he has a studio in the village of La Paila where he was born, a 35-minute flight from Bogota, which he has converted during the current crisis into a place to distribute food in collaboration with the local community. He talks to us from what he calls “my spiritual studio”.
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