Paul Black Reviews Oscar Murillo’s Binary Function At David Zwirner London

Oscar Murillo

Oscar Murillo is now considered an established artist – and David Zwirner is currently presenting Murillo’s first exhibition at the gallery in London – titled ‘Binary Function’, which refers to the pairings that permeate the artist’s multifaceted practice; with multiples that play against one another to create a dialogue that the exceeds individual objects, with another chance to step on the artist’s work!

The show begins with Murillo’s stitched-together, expressionistic canvases, energetic, and quite engaging. There is no lack of confidence in the artist’s marks, or for that matter his subtle shifts between sculptural object and painting. The artist is all patch-work, the binary of the title alludes to the opposite position. Murillo stages everything in pairs, everything in multiples. Conceptual dialogues resonate between materials and form.

In fact the artist has a slightly Beuysian approach to sculpture in the form of multiple assemblages; material and substance-heavy, post-minimalist concoctions; there is a little of the alchemical in Murillo’s sculptural and material decisions; and the solid languorous nature of his installation juxtaposes elegantly with the frenetic nature of his paintings. Rhythms change, tempos in the artist’s work go up and go down.

In true Beuysian fashion the artist employs materials of a kinetic nature, the shift and change as time passes. There is a temporal nature to Murillo’s work; whether it be the journey from the studio to the gallery, the mark making of his canvases – or the material use in his installations. In fact even the artist’s canvases employ a temporal element, as Murillo allows the material of the canvas and the surfaces to accumulate dust, marks and even fingerprints. The very nature of the studio is transposed into the artist’s finished work. The consumption of the work by the viewer includes the very creative process that formed the object.

Of particular note is Murillo’s heavily painted black canvases which are made of several sewn-together fragments and reminiscent of stripped animal hides suspended across the gallery, or piled on top of one another. The elements of painting and sculpture merge, the viewer can also walk on these sculptural canvases; adding their own temporal footprint to the works in indistinguishable layers of dirt and dust, changing the works and increasing the sculptural viability of the material layer by layer.

With the artist we have a series of works that perpetually shift medium, expressing temporal vibrations encompassing the journey from studio to gallery, moving kinetically from painting to sculpture, and even employing the finishing touches of the viewer in the completion of Murillo’s installations. In fact as the viewer we are not only an integral part of this artist’s installational universe, but we also leave our permanent mark on it.

About the artist:

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.

Words: Paul Black. Photos: P A Black © Artlyst 2015

Oscar Murillo: Binary Function – David Zwirner, London – until November 20 2015


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