A detail of a painting by Oscar Murillo, titled manifestation
Oscar Murillo: Ourself behind ourself concealed

David Zwirner is pleased to present new paintings by Oscar Murillo (b. 1986) at the gallery’s 533 West 19th Street location in New York. The exhibition will feature large-scale canvases that extend two of the artist’s ongoing series, manifestation and news, both begun in 2018, pushing them in new directions in his ongoing effort to, in Murillo’s words, “keep a balance between my desire to think primarily about image-making and mark-making, textures and form, and this constant awareness of the world and my need to interpret it.”1
 
Murillo’s new paintings are characteristic of his studio practice and his sustained engagement with process, as well as his continued emphasis on art-making as a means of synthesizing sociopolitical contexts. The title of this exhibition is drawn from Emily Dickinson’s 1862 poem that opens, “One need not be a Chamber—to be Haunted—.” This literary work centers on the image of a specter within the self, a notion that connects to meditations, within Murillo’s practice, on dark forces present in both the personal and the political. The result of a physically demanding, intuitively guided approach, these dynamic compositions are imbued with a spiritual resonance that forms a thread through his works over recent years.
 
Coinciding with Currents 121: Oscar Murillo at the Saint Louis Art Museum, this will be Murillo’s seventh solo presentation with the gallery, and his third in New York. 

Presented in tandem is an online-only exhibition featuring new works on paper by the artist.

 

1 “Violent Amnesia: Excerpts from a Conversation between Oscar Murillo and Andrew Nairne,” in Oscar Murillo: By Means of a Detour (Cambridge, England: Kettle’s Yard; Hamburg: Kunstverein, 2021), p. 276. 


Image: Oscar Murillo, manifestation,  2020-2022 (detail)

Installation view, Oscar Murillo: ourself behind concealed, David Zwirner, New York

Installation view, Oscar Murillo: Ourself behind ourself concealed, David Zwirner, New York, 2022

Installation view, Oscar Murillo: Ourself behind ourself concealed, David Zwirner, New York, 2022

The exhibition features large-scale canvases that extend two of the artist’s ongoing and renowned series, manifestation and news, both begun in 2018.

These new, dynamic compositions are imbued with a spiritual resonance and bodily presence—two newfound throughlines that are crucial to Murillo’s recent works. The psychologically charged paintings shift between the conscious and the unconscious, the spiritual and the physical, the personal and political, the surface and what lies beneath.

An oil, oil stick, graphite and spray paint on canvas and linen artwork by Oscar Murillo, titled manifestation, 2020 to 2022.

Oscar Murillo

manifestation, 2020-2022
Oil, oil stick, graphite, and spray paint on canvas and linen
137 3/4 x 189 inches (349.9 x 480.1 cm)

“I try very hard to keep a balance between my desire to think primarily about image making and mark making, textures and form, and this constant awareness of the world and my need to interpret it.”


—Oscar Murillo

An oil, oil stick, graphite and spray paint on canvas and linen artwork by Oscar Murillo, titled manifestation, 2020 to 2022.

Oscar Murillo

manifestation, 2020-2022
Oil, oil stick, graphite, and spray paint on canvas and linen
139 x 177 3/8 inches (353.1 x 450.5 cm)
An oil, oil stick, graphite and spray paint on canvas and line artwork by Oscar Murillo, titled news, 2020 to 2022.

Oscar Murillo

news, 2020-2022
Oil, oil stick, graphite, and spray paint on canvas and linen
75 x 67 1/2 inches (190.5 x 171.4 cm)

The exhibition coincides with Currents 121: Oscar Murillo, on view at the Saint Louis Art Museum through August 28, 2022, which features new monumental paintings from the artist’s manifestation series.

An Installation view, Currents 121: Oscar Murillo, Saint Louis Art Museum, 2022

Installation view, Currents 121: Oscar Murillo, Saint Louis Art Museum, 2022. Photo by Lisa Mitchell  

Installation view, Currents 121: Oscar Murillo, Saint Louis Art Museum, 2022. Photo by Lisa Mitchell  

An Installation view, Currents 121: Oscar Murillo, Saint Louis Art Museum, 2022

Installation view, Currents 121: Oscar Murillo, Saint Louis Art Museum, 2022. Photo by Lisa Mitchell  

Installation view, Currents 121: Oscar Murillo, Saint Louis Art Museum, 2022. Photo by Lisa Mitchell  

An Installation view, Currents 121: Oscar Murillo, Saint Louis Art Museum, 2022

Installation view, Currents 121: Oscar Murillo, Saint Louis Art Museum, 2022. Photo by Lisa Mitchell  

Installation view, Currents 121: Oscar Murillo, Saint Louis Art Museum, 2022. Photo by Lisa Mitchell  

“[The artist] defies the mid-century notion of abstract paintings as inherently pure, flat surfaces that reference nothing beyond the edges of the frame. For Murillo, art-making is about manifesting these varied dynamics—the strenuous acts of painting, cutting, and sewing leave traces within the work of the significant energy they demand.”


—Hannah Klemm, curator of Currents 121: Oscar Murillo

A painting by Oscar Murillo titled manifestation, dated 2020-2022

 Oscar Murillo, news, 2020-2022 (detail)

 Oscar Murillo, news, 2020-2022 (detail)

An oil, oil stick, graphite, and spray paint on canvas and linen artwork by Oscar Murillo, titled news, 2020 to 2022.

Oscar Murillo

news, 2020-2022
Oil, oil stick, graphite, and spray paint on canvas and linen
75 x 67 inches (190.5 x 170.2 cm)
A Photo by Tim Bowditch of Oscar Murillo in his London studio, 2022.

Oscar Murillo in his studio, 2022. Photo by Tim Bowditch

Oscar Murillo in his studio, 2022. Photo by Tim Bowditch

As with past works from his manifestation and news series, Murillo begins by sewing together his support using an array of material fragments, including pieces cut up from earlier canvases.

Through the physical acts of stitching together existing and new materials and covering each surface with paint, Murillo catalyzes a powerful transfer of energy that traverses the history and strata of his own studio practice.

An oil, oil stick, graphite and spray paint on canvas and linen artwork by Oscar Murillo, titled manifestation, 2020 to 2022.

Oscar Murillo

manifestation, 2020-2022
Oil, oil stick, graphite, and spray paint on canvas and linen
121 1/4 x 141 3/4 inches (308 x 360.1 cm)

In these works, Murillo mines the many ways that ideas, words, and even everyday items are displaced, circulated, and increasingly intermingled.

The word “manifestation” itself encompasses many definitions, and notably is used in several languages to describe the act of political demonstration.

A detail of a painting by Oscar Murillo, titled manifestation, dated 2020-2022

Oscar Murillo, manifestation, 2022-2022 (detail)

Oscar Murillo, manifestation, 2022-2022 (detail)

Installation view Oscar Muriilo, Ourself behind ourself concealed

Installation view, Oscar Murillo: Ourself behind ourself concealed, David Zwirner, New York, 2022

Installation view, Oscar Murillo: Ourself behind ourself concealed, David Zwirner, New York, 2022

The artist directly links physical artistic gesture to the act of using one’s body to proclaim dissent in the face of power. In these massive canvases, vivid hues are contrasted with jagged passages of black, conveying a visceral and almost corporeal turmoil. 

A Photo by Tim Bowditch of Oscar Murillo in his London studio, 2022.

Oscar Murillo in his studio, 2022. Photo by Tim Bowditch

Oscar Murillo in his studio, 2022. Photo by Tim Bowditch

“The patently visible, visceral energy of the manifestation paintings connects them to the physical nature of demonstration, of ‘putting one’s body on the line.’” 


—Hannah Klemm

A detail of a painting by Oscar Murillo, titled surge (poetics of flight), dated 2021

Browse new works on paper by Oscar Murillo


An oil, oil stick, graphite, and spray paint on canvas and linen artwork by Oscar Murillo, titled manifestation, 2020 to 2022.

Oscar Murillo

manifestation, 2020-2022
Oil, oil stick, graphite, and spray paint on canvas and linen
118 1/8 x 146 3/4 inches (300 x 372.8 cm)

Murillo’s manifestation paintings were featured in a large-scale solo exhibition, Social Altitude, at the Aspen Art Museum in 2019, following his debut of the series at David Zwirner London in 2018.

An Installation view, Currents 121: Oscar Murillo, Saint Louis Art Museum, 2022

Installation view, Oscar Murillo: Social Altitude, Aspen Art Museum, 2019. Photo by Tony Prikryl 

Installation view, Oscar Murillo: Social Altitude, Aspen Art Museum, 2019. Photo by Tony Prikryl 

“Exuding painterly confidence with the majesty of Joan Mitchell’s landscapes and the urgency of Jean Dubuffet’s scratch marks, Murillo’s spirited bursts of cerulean blue, red, white, and black defy the grim subtext of their creation.”


—Mara Hoberman, Artforum

An oil, oil stick, graphite and spray paint on canvas and linen artwork by Oscar Murillo, titled manifestation, 2020 to 2022.

Oscar Murillo

manifestation, 2020-2022
Oil, oil stick, graphite, and spray paint on canvas and linen
139 x 189 inches (353.1 x 480.1 cm)

Across the canvases, layers of disparate elements jostle for recognition, enacting a sort of visual uprising that speaks to an ongoing struggle between the conscious and unconscious selves, as well as the pressures that act both inside and upon the body.

Fittingly, the exhibition’s title is drawn from Emily Dickinson’s 1862 poem “One need not be a Chamber to be Haunted,” which centers on the image of a specter within the self.

Installation view Oscar Muriilo, Ourself behind ourself concealed

Installation view, Oscar Murillo: Ourself behind ourself concealed, David Zwirner, New York, 2022

Installation view, Oscar Murillo: Ourself behind ourself concealed, David Zwirner, New York, 2022

“The danger lies within—these works are manifestations of the self, releasing [their own] ‘spirits.’”

 

—Oscar Murillo

A detail of a painting by Oscar Murillo, titled surge (poetics of flight), dated 2021

Browse new works on paper by Oscar Murillo


An oil, oil stick, graphite, and spray paint on canvas and linen artwork by Oscar Murillo, titled news, 2020 to 2022.

Oscar Murillo

news, 2020-2022
Oil, oil stick, graphite, and spray paint on canvas and linen
75 x 67 inches (190.5 x 170.2 cm)
An oil, oil stick, graphite and spray paint on canvas and line artwork by Oscar Murillo, titled news, 2020 to 2022.

Oscar Murillo

news, 2020-2022
Oil, oil stick, graphite, and spray paint on canvas and linen
75 x 67 1/2 inches (190.5 x 171.4 cm)
An oil, oil stick, graphite, and spray paint on canvas and linen artwork by Oscar Murillo, titled manifestation, 2020 to 2022.

Oscar Murillo

manifestation, 2020-2022
Oil, oil stick, graphite, and spray paint on canvas and linen
118 1/8 x 146 3/4 inches (300 x 372.8 cm)
An oil, oil stick, graphite and spray paint on canvas and linen artwork by Oscar Murillo, titled manifestation, 2020 to 2022.

Oscar Murillo

manifestation, 2020-2022
Oil, oil stick, graphite, and spray paint on canvas and linen
139 x 189 inches (353.1 x 480.1 cm)
An oil, oil stick, graphite and spray paint on canvas and linen artwork by Oscar Murillo, titled manifestation, 2020 to 2022.

Oscar Murillo

manifestation, 2020-2022
Oil, oil stick, graphite, and spray paint on canvas and linen
139 x 177 3/8 inches (353.1 x 450.5 cm)
An oil, oil stick, graphite and spray paint on canvas and linen artwork by Oscar Murillo, titled manifestation, 2020 to 2022.

Oscar Murillo

manifestation, 2020-2022
Oil, oil stick, graphite, and spray paint on canvas and linen
137 3/4 x 189 inches (349.9 x 480.1 cm)
An oil, oil stick, graphite and spray paint on canvas and linen artwork by Oscar Murillo, titled manifestation, 2020 to 2022.

Oscar Murillo

manifestation, 2020-2022
Oil, oil stick, graphite, and spray paint on canvas and linen
121 1/4 x 141 3/4 inches (308 x 360.1 cm)

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          Ourself behind ourself concealed

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