A prophecy in the history of things

Oscar Murillo

In Residence: Jan 19 – Mar 23, 2015

Exhibition: Mar 19 – May 17, 2015

How did you approach this exhibition?
When Cesar Garcia invited me to Artpace a year ago, I knew that I didn’t want to simply transport a studio practice into a new context. That would be a waste of an opportunity to explore and tease out different ideas. I wanted this to be a thinking space. I was excited to experience a subculture and the community of people in this part of the world. One of the first things that came to mind was how could I not only use the studio space, but also the infrastructure of Artpace to have a wider experience of what Texas could be in relationship to my history and background as someone who has migrated from one culture to another.

Where does the title of the exhibition come from?
I thought, how can I prophesize future events through my own index of being an artist? Not only the things or projects I’ve created in the past, but also things I’ve made this year and how they fit into this context. On the surface I wanted to dive into my own history as a child and the desires that my father and I had. This is where the Toyota sign comes into place. It represents car culture and agriculture and growing up in a rural environment in South America in Colombia. Agriculture is a huge thing that the community there lives off of and it is even a part of the curriculum in school—how to live off of land and the fields and so forth. Toyota was one of the first vehicles imported into Colombia in the 1960’s and 70’s, and it was used as an agricultural tool. It becomes an anchor point in the space.

What about the other elements in the space?
The drawing references the equator, as they are all products that are used near that part of the world. The whiskey is a label from Scotland, but it has been counterfeited in Colombia. I went to these warehouses where they kept these counterfeited goods and took a few of the labels, including this whiskey label. It shows appropriated cultures, but also my own history in Colombia. It also demonstrates how the socio-economic North continues to dominate the South (Africa, Latin America, and Asia) culturally. The uniforms relate to labor work, and they look as if they are waiting to be activated. With each element I am thinking, how can I connect this residency to a wider situation?


Oscar Murillo

La Paila, Colombia / London, England

Oscar Murillo’s large-scale paintings imply action, performance, and chaos, but are in fact methodically composed of rough-hewn, stitched canvases that often incorporate fragments of text as well as studio debris such as dirt and dust. His paintings, video works, and performances are tied to a notion of community, stemming from the artist’s cross-cultural ties to London, where he currently lives and works, and Colombia, where he was born in 1986. For his ongoing project Frequencies, created in collaboration with members of his family and political scientist Clara Dublanc, Murillo will visit schools across the globe where canvases temporarily affixed to classroom desks will register young students’ creative and critical thought processes. The project aims to offer cross-cultural and social insights into youth communities around the world.

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César García-Alvarez

Los Angeles, CA