At just 28, he has moved phenomenally quickly from struggling Royal Academy graduate to David Zwirner represented artist, the high-profile gallery which boasts a spectacular roster of creatives, including Jeff Koons. Murillo is best known for his lively abstract canvases and experiments with video, installation and performance.
There is a trend in the art market to pluck young artists from obscurity and hurl them to stardom. So, is Murillo's success a case of emperor's new clothes? Or does this shy and softly-spoken artist deserve the hype?
His new show, binary 2, is very on-trend: multimedia, deadly-serious and self-reflexively concerned with 'the artist's praxis'. The press release purrs about 'pairings that play' to create 'a dialogue that exceeds individual works', 'a tension between order and chaos'.
All of this aside, there is some very powerful work here. Murillo is fascinated by the idea of his dual heritage - the fact that his identity has been shaped by both Colombia and America. This emerged as a defining theme of the exhibition. In the second room, there is a video of a street scene in La Paila, Colombia. We see a group of laughing people,dancing and chatting, playing drums. The mood is joyous; it is New Year's eve and this group haven't been to sleep. The soundtrack shifts between the original audio and an ambient score.
We have touches of joyousness elsewhere, too. We are confronted in the first room by four large and lively canvases, three of them a riot of scribblings, the fourth in a chequerboard pattern. Together with the perspective painting of dominos opposite, we think of games, pastimes. These exuberant works create a mood of glee and celebration.
Upstairs, however, it is a different story. A huge black curtain, made from a patchwork of painted canvas, hangs ominously across the room. Black canvas litters the floor, marked by the footfall of visitors. A witchy effigy, made from clay, a cross, wire wool, and a photograph of the artist's mother, working in a factory, hangs at on end. If the first part of the exhibition was about leisure, the second is about work, struggle and, in the end, death, alluded to by a pall-like sculpture at the far end.
|What||Oscar Murillo: binary function, David Zwirner|
24 Grafton Street, London, W1S 4EZ | MAP
|Nearest tube||Green Park (underground)|
10 Oct 15 – 20 Nov 15, Monday – Friday, 10 AM – 6 PM
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