Gagosian announces expansive presentation of works by Oscar Murillo at London's Burlington Arcade
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Gagosian announces expansive presentation of works by Oscar Murillo at London's Burlington Arcade
Oscar Murillo, spread from "THEM", 2015–24. Artist's book: pen, graphite, pastel, and paint on paper. Each page: 11 3/4 x 8 5/8 inches (30 x 22 cm) © Oscar Murillo. Photo: Reinis Lismanis. Courtesy the artist and Gagosian.

LONDON.- Gagosian announced an exhibition by Oscar Murillo at its gallery in London’s Burlington Arcade, and the artist’s takeover of the Gagosian Shop. The project, titled THEM, unites elements of Murillo’s practice and complements The flooded garden (2024), his newly commissioned installation at Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, which is on view from July 20 to August 26 as part of the UNIQLO Tate Play program. THEM considers the simple yet radical act of mark making, intertwining themes of community, kinship, globalization, and the universal.

The word them is both quotidian and profound, at moments carrying antagonistic political and social overtones. It also resonates with the concepts underlying The flooded garden, which was inspired by the paintings that Claude Monet produced in his garden in Giverny, France, during his battle with cataracts. Murillo was drawn to the visual qualities of Monet’s paintings and intrigued by their origins in physical and emotional struggle. Thinking about cataracts evoked for the artist the idea of “social blindness” or the inability to connect meaningfully with the realities of other people. THEM includes painted works on paper from the series study for social cataracts (2021–), which pursues this concept.

At Burlington Arcade, these works are incorporated into Mesmerizing Beauty (2021–), an installation in which cheap, utilitarian white plastic chairs serve as symbolic empty vessels that support the works on paper. (A larger iteration of the project is on view at Tate Modern as part of The flooded garden). Gagosian’s presentation also includes a unique painted edition of THEM (2015–24), Murillo’s unpublished artist’s book filled with abstract and symbolic markings that overlay and obscure photographs from his childhood. Over several years, Murillo has spent time intervening in the pages on this intimate scale. At points, the additions deliberately obfuscate the identity of the individuals in the images, emphasizing the universality of kinship and the significance of the gesture.

Murillo’s interest in and experimentation with mark making has been fueled in large part by Frequencies, a participatory project that he began in 2013 which uses the school desk as a system with which to capture the collective consciousness of thousands of young people. This summer, Gagosian hosts the launch of a new monograph dedicated to the project. Edited by Alessandro Rabottini and published by Hatje Cantz, the Frequencies book contains essays by curators Mark Godfrey, Eleanor Nairne, and Gabi Ngcobo, and is presented at Burlington Arcade alongside a dedicated reading room based on suggestions from invitees, these contributors among them.

A selection of Murillo’s wearable sculptures, Arepas y Tamales (2022–), and associated printed shirts are also on view, as well as the video meet me! Mr. Superman (2013–15). Shot on a handheld camera, the work captures the preparations for a New Year’s Day parade in Murillo’s hometown of La Paila in Colombia’s Valle del Cauca region. Just as the photographs in THEM are obfuscated, the location and individuals in the video resist easy identification; rather, the work captures the occasion’s communal energy.

A conversation between Murillo and Rabottini will take place at 7:30pm on Thursday, July 25, to mark the launch of the Frequencies book and the opening of the Burlington Arcade exhibition.

Oscar Murillo was born in 1986 in Colombia and lives and works in various locations. Collections include Arts Council Collection, England; Tate, London; Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris; Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany; Fondazione Prada, Milan; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Aïshti Foundation, Beirut; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Rubell Museum, Miami; Seattle Art Museum; Dallas Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Taguchi Art Collection, Tokyo. Exhibitions include South London Gallery (2013); Centro Cultural Daoíz y Velarde, Madrid (2015); Artpace San Antonio (2015); Estructuras resonantes, CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, France (2017); Capsule 07, Haus der Kunst, Munich (2017–18); Violent Amnesia, Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge, England (2019); Social Altitude, Aspen Art Museum, Colorado (2019–20); Spirits and Gestures, Fondazione Memmo, Rome (2021–22); A Storm Is Blowing from Paradise, Scuola Grande della Misericordia, Venice (2022); Currents 021, Saint Louis Art Museum (2022); Together in Our Spirits, Fundação Serralves, Porto, Portugal (2023–24); Masses, Wiels, Brussels (2024); and JAZZ., Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2024). Murillo participated in the 56th Biennale di Venezia (2015) and shared the Turner Prize (2019).

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