Oscar Murillo
social cataracts

Installation / Commissioned work


Palais Attems

Production specifics
Commissioned and produced by steirischer herbst ’19

Oscar Murillo’s site-specific installation for Palais Attems engages with the decaying and often disproportionate grandeur of the Baroque. Subjecting plush furniture to painterly vandalism, Murillo not only dismantles a fantasy of former sumptuousness that still circulates globally as a style today; he also remembers some of its own past violence. Decay and destruction unleash the darker side of the Baroque. Even its most innocent ornaments were sensual propaganda for the Counter-Reformation in Europe. They often represented the immense new riches extracted from the Americas and Africa at such a terrifying human cost. The mannequins in Murillo’s installation evoke colonized bodies exploited and broken to create the real financial value behind the glory of the wealth thus represented. This background of exploitation and physical dominance provides a link to our own time, in which value in the centers of neocolonalism is still created by exploiting a neocolonial periphery.