Up to 40,000 canvases by more than 100,000 school children across the world will be brought together by Turner Prize-winning artist Oscar Murillo in a major installation marking the culmination of his eight-year project Frequencies. The project will be presented in its entirety for the first time by Artangel at Cardinal Pole secondary school in Hackney, London, from 24th July – 30th August 2021.
Since its conception in 2013, Murillo has sent pieces of blank artist canvas to schools around the globe with the sole requirement that they be affixed to classroom desks for a term, inviting students aged 10 to 16 to freely mark, draw, scribble or write on the canvases. Over the past eight years, Frequencies has grown to become a vast global project involving more than 300 schools in over 30 countries, including Brazil, China, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lebanon, Nepal, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, UK, USA and many others.
The extraordinary reach of Frequencies will be seen for the first time with up to 40,000 canvases displayed in a large-scale installation in the sports hall at Cardinal Pole secondary school, where Murillo attended between the ages of 11 and 18, having arrived in London with his family from Colombia a year earlier.
Viewed en masse, the canvases convey the conscious and unconscious energy of young minds at their most absorbent, optimistic and conflicted. Often contributed to by several students, the canvases are densely layered with drawings, slogans, messages and motifs. The canvases feature universally recognised words and images alongside culturally specific expressions – the result of a project that is both a local and global endeavour.
Open to the public free of charge, visitors will be able to explore Frequencies through an immersive installation featuring the entire archive of canvas artworks and video screens showing details of the works. At the heart of the sports hall, Murillo has designed an arena where visitors can look through piles of canvases, meet and talk. Sixth formers from the school, alongside five influential Londoners, will make their own selections to create micro-exhibitions within the overall installation. Disrupted Frequencies, a new series of large-scale paintings by Murillo featuring multiple Frequencies canvases stitched together, will also be exhibited.
Frequencies Opening 24th July 2021 – 30th August Cardinal Pole Catholic School 205 Morning Lane, London E9 6LG artangel.org.uk/project/frequencies/ 11am – 7pm | Tues – Thurs 12pm – 8pm | Fri – Sat 12pm – 4pm | Sun + Bank holidays FREE ENTRY
Oscar Murillo was born in La Paila, Colombia in 1986. He studied at the University of Westminster and the Royal College of Art, both in London. His main studio is based in north-east London. Since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020, he has been closely involved in community activism in Colombia.
Over the past decade, Murillo has become known for a practice that encompasses paintings, works on paper, sculptures, installations, actions, live events, collaborative projects, and videos. Recent solo exhibitions include ‘Social Altitude’, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, Colorado, (2020) Horizontal Darkness in Search of Solidarity, Kunstverein in Hamburg, Germany, 2019-20; ‘Violent Amnesia, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, UK (2019), Oscar Murillo, Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany, 2017-18.
Frequencies has been exhibited at the 56th Venice Biennale: All the World’s Futures in 2015. During 2016, it was presented at the 2nd Hangzhou Triennial of Fiber Art in China and the 3rd Aichi Triennial, Homo Faber: A Rainbow Caravan in Japan. In 2017 it was exhibited as part of Murillo’s Capsule 07 exhibition at Haus der Kunst in Munich and as part of the group shows A Poet*hical Wager in MOCA Cleveland, and Fragile State at the Pinchuk Arts Centre in Kiev. In 2019, it was exhibited as a solo exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK and has plans to be shown as a solo show at Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan and as part of a group show titled ‘The Space Between Classrooms’, Swiss Institute New York, in 2021.