‘Dirt’, reads the materials list for a painting by Oscar Murillo which sold at auction for £250,000 in June. What better to sell to those who have everything? Art collectors have gone giddy over grime. This show presents the process by which dirt infuses the work of this young, London-based Colombian artist, who packed up his Dalston studio into a couple of vans and drove south to reassemble it in the gallery’s main space.
Hanging in a line at eye level is packaging for international products with innuendo-laden names such as ‘Fufu’ flour and ‘Bon Bon Bum’ lollipops. Remnants of a balloon and a sheet of bubble wrap – both once weightless – are grounded, cast in concrete balls; valuable canvases lie folded on the floor like decorators’ dust sheets. The work pokes fun, but it does so with charm and at itself.
Upstairs there’s a video featuring Ramón, a man who hawks lottery tickets in the artist’s Colombian hometown. People answer his ‘Win two-and-a-half million’ with ‘There’s no money, Ramón!’ In another gallery, the artist’s silkscreen-printed lottery tickets are for sale, each one hand-calligraphed with the name of whoever parted with its £2,500 purchase price. Is this an exposé of art-market folly? Perhaps. Yet, whether your name is on a lottery ticket or your footprint is on the floor, Murillo makes sure that everyone is part of the madness.