Oscar Murillo: Airplane Seat as Art Studio, Flight as a Sacred ‘Other’ Space

At David Zwirner Gallery’s Instagram, we stumbled on this compelling video of Columbian artist Oscar Murillo intently making art while on a flight to…where?  It was part of an exhibition at the gallery’s online Viewing Room, a marvelous digital space where visitors can explore and collect works by gallery artists.

 

 

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In Poetics of Flight, Murillo describes how air travel and airplanes are “an important site of production” for his work:

Constant transnational movement has become an integral facet of my practice. Flight becomes not just a means of travel but a sacred ‘other’ space, the aeroplane seat itself becoming a unique ‘studio’ at a remove, a non-place which is both physically confined and freed from being in any real geographical location.

 

Oscar Murillio (untitled) poetics of flight, David Zwirner Gallery

The drawings made on board planes, in hotels, and in any space of transition have a similar function: they feed a sickness, a relentless laboring.

Oscar Murillio (untitled) poetics of flight, David Zwirner Gallery

[The drawings] root me in an expanded studio practice, where the singular seat of an aircraft, its pockets, the folding table, and the comfort of music instantaneously become the sacred studio space, where the activity of drawing and mark making takes place.”                      —Oscar Murillo, as quoted in “Horizons in Flight Mode” (2018)

 

Oscar Murillo (untitled) poetics of flight David Zwirner Gallery

Modern air travel seems so strict and constrained, we realize that we’ve too often endured a flight with little imagination. It is a relief and an inspiration to see Murillo’s use of the plane as his art studio, “mark making” with great focus to create his deeply expressive work thousands of feet in the air.

 …the singular seat of an aircraft, its pockets, the folding table, and the comfort of music instantaneously become the sacred studio space…

See more of Murillo’s work at Poetics of Flight in Zwirner Gallery’s Viewing Room.

3 Responses to Oscar Murillo: Airplane Seat as Art Studio, Flight as a Sacred ‘Other’ Space

  1. EllenRocco 07.31.2019 at 7:25am #

    What an interesting perspective! For me, flying, which used to be such an exciting adventure, has become really unpleasant, something to dread rather than look forward to. The long waits and crowds at the airport, the increasing delays and uncertainties about whether the flight will actually take off and get me where I am supposed to be going, the crowding and the discomfort of the seats, questions (reasonable or not) about safety – all of these taken together make me wonder whether I really want to go wherever it is I am hoping to go.

    Sorry for the rant. Perhaps I can adopt Murillo’s point of view. Or perhaps whatever gods may be will intervene and restore some sanity to the process. Either way, you have given me an alternative view as you do so often and I will try to keep it in mind the next time I head for the airport.

  2. JoAnne Kalvaitis 07.31.2019 at 11:28am #

    This is a constant practice of most UrbanSketchers. See Liz Steel in particular. To urban sketchers the streets, restaurants, waiting rooms, hospitals, anywhere is a studio. The sketchers recently descended on Amsterdam for a 4 day symposium and the airplanes, lobbies and hotel rooms all became fair game. And that doesn’t scratch the surface of the usual beauties of Holland that were sketched.

    I realize this artist is using it to do unrelated drawings (not the plane interior) but I get the vague, uncomfortable feeling this is “better” than the UrbanSketcher’s goal.

  3. Sally Schneider 08.05.2019 at 11:38am #

    I agree with you, Ellen. I used to be a big happy traveler but no more. It’s always a challenge. Murillo’s view has gotten me thinking of more ways to take pleasure in the process.

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