After moving to London, the artist encountered an entirely different culture yet remained closely linked to his origins. Cleaning office buildings at night in the city of London alongside fellow Colombians, Murillo began to incorporate the tools of his trade into his process of art production. Broomsticks became tools for mark-making and the dirt that they would conventionally remove from the office floor became a medium to be applied onto a canvas. As the artist explained: “I think in what I do… I endeavor to strive for a sense of authenticity...dirt is real and is everywhere; it is accessible whether in the streets of London or in the villages of Colombia, dirt is democratic and free, so a dirty canvas is an extension or a reality even if you romanticize it” (Oscar Murillo in conversation with Catherine Wood in: ‘Oscar Murillo: Dirty Painting’, Mousse 35, October-November 2012, p. 109).
In an unconventional approach to painting that is not dissimilar to the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Oscar Murillo introduces the distinctly low-brow material of dirt as a key component in his paintings. The use of linguistic elements, often referring to food - or in the case of the present work, to yoga - is another signature painterly strategy that characterizes Murillo’s work. Aas he explains: “Some words like yoga have gained a duality of meaning in my work. They are not only visually representative of their meaning but also, compositionally, there’s a formality. The canvases get folded so you get the word kind of mirrored in the paint’s absorption onto the other side of the fold, and sometimes you get a pattern. Here it almost looks like a person doing yoga.”
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