Rene Matić & Oscar Murillo: JAZZ.

Rene Matić & Oscar Murillo: JAZZ.


Kunsthalle Wien presents Rene Matić (b.1997, Peterborough, UK) and Oscar Murillo (b. 1986, La Paila, Colombia) together for the first time.

About the exhibition

For JAZZ. both artists present existing works as well as new commissions made specifically in response to the space and the city of Vienna. Encompassing painterly gestures, installation, film, photography, and sound, each element on show is in dialogue, shaped by Murillo’s black canvas installation which is suspended from the ceiling throughout the space. Together, through dissection and reconciliation, both artists explore the impossibilities and contradictions that arise from notions of desire, visibility, and opacity.
Rene Matić & Oscar Murillo: JAZZ.

Gestural abstraction through improvisation

Coming from differing vantage points and mediums, both artists employ gesture and abstraction within their practices. Murillo chooses the social over the subjective and the collective over the individual, while Matić’s practice is often grounded in the personal. Murillo’s works, and even titles, often reference the act of sending messages or of recording, intercepting, and tuning into, while Matić displays a deep concern with the reception of the image. Murillo’s paintings and drawings come to life through mark-making and gesture; Matić’s works use dance as a form of expression within the realm of the moving image and photography. In this sense, JAZZ.—a title that evokes many resonances and qualities within each artist’s practice—could be understood as a mode of artistic collaboration but also of reception: one where cultural sensibilities are blended, improvisation takes place and group interaction becomes as vital as the individual voice.
Rene Matić & Oscar Murillo: JAZZ.

A common search through intuition

While in some ways the practices of Matić and Murillo seem rather complementary to one another, they also overlap in important aspects. For instance, the gestural painting, reminiscent of action painting, that is so often at the heart of Murillo’s work is akin to the use of dance and dancing in Matić’s videos, as they both share a spontaneous, unbothered, and unscripted nature. Both artists also share intuition within their process and production, a calculated intuition. One could say intuition deployed strategically. Additionally, both artists succeed in carving out a space of independence for themselves in a cultural context that is determined to classify and smooth out everything and everyone.
Rene Matić & Oscar Murillo: JAZZ.

Oscar Murillo's works

At kunsthalle wien, Oscar Murillo’s large-scale black canvases—a recurring element—fully develop their impressive architectural dimension. Suspended from the ceiling to create an almost labyrinthine structure, they carefully shape the space, allowing for intimate encounters with the works. While their intense darkness may elicit a sense of danger or perhaps mourning, this darkness can also be a space that breeds new life and rebirth.
Within this maze, we encounter further works by Murillo, such as a completely new set of landscape paintings titled fields of spirits (2023).
Frequencies, one of Murillo’s collaborative projects, initiated in 2013, involves visiting schools around the world, fixing canvas onto the pupils’ desks, letting them freely draw on, graffiti, and mark them, until, several months later, the artist collects them. The prints magnify the unconscious and conscious marks to striking proportions, as well as provide the basis for the Telegram (2013–2023) series.
Rene Matić & Oscar Murillo: JAZZ.

Rene Matić's works

Matić’s starting point for their contribution to the JAZZ. exhibition is Vienna’s response to and “outrage” at Josephine Baker’s performance in the city in 1928. A few years earlier, Baker, a US-American, had emigrated to Paris, where she became extraordinarily successful as a dancer and singer. Her experience in Vienna breaks with the somewhat romanticized narrative of her relatively liberal reception in Europe, contrasting the harsh racialized context she experienced in her homeland. The Austrian reviews regard Baker as “a serious attack on the values of European culture”. In these articles, Baker becomes synonymous with Blackness, jazz, and low culture, while Vienna, and Europe, become synonymous with whiteness, the waltz, and high culture.
It is against this incident that Matić develops the film works redacted and climax, the photo series (out of) place, and the sound work voice (all 2024). In redacted, we see the artist dancing in a black space with a single fixed spotlight.
Rene Matić & Oscar Murillo: JAZZ.
Rene Matić / Oscar Murillo. JAZZ.

Curators: What, How & for Whom / WHW (Ivet Ćurlin • Nataša Ilić • Sabina Sabolović) and Laura Amann
Assistant curator: Ezra Šimek

Kunsthalle Wien
Museumsquartier, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna
14/3 – 28/7 2024
Tue – Sun 11 am – 7 pm • Thu 11 am – 9 pm