February 20th to 26th, 2023
Oscar Murillo and the Iglesia de San Antón
Galería Elba Benítez, in collaboration with David Zwirner and together with the support of Padre Ángel and his organization Asociación Mensajeros de la Paz, is pleased to announce Oscar Murillo’s catarata social – a gestural intervention in the setting of Iglesia de San Antón, a Catholic church in central Madrid. The intervention builds on Murillo’s ongoing engagement with sites of social significance, and also probes ideas of community, social architecture, and societal aid as continued areas of interest.
Oscar Murillo presents Mesmerizing Beauty – a composite work made of white plastic chairs and wooden structures presenting studies for his painted series Surge (social cataracts). The chair alludes to community or family gatherings, and has strong connotations of something disposable or easily discarded, speaking to a transitory coming-together. Mesmerizing Beauty works to amplify ideas of loss, crisis, and empathy, but here gains further meaning within the context of Murillo’s intervention, and Iglesia de San Antón as a centre for the homeless.
The Iglesia de San Antón has a history as the home to the Piarist fathers – a religious order devoted to the education of the disadvantaged. The Church, under the organization of the Asociación Mensajeros de la Paz and Padre Ángel, continues this outreach through a dedicated social programme, operating as a centre for the homeless and regularly distributing food amongst the local community.
The church is known for being the original owner of Francisco de Goya’s La última comunión de san José de Calasanz (1819). Meaningfully, this painting depicts the religious fervour of the Spanish catholic priest and founder of the Piarists. When Goya was invited to paint this altarpiece, he partially returned his commission, endeared to the church because of his own time studying with the Pious Schools as a student in Zaragoza.
catarata social will be open to the public during the week of ARCOmadrid, from February 20th to 26th, from 11 am to 7 pm.
Oscar Murillo thanks Asociación Mensajeros de la Paz for hosting the presentation.
Oscar Murillo’s photo credits: Tim Bowditch and Reinis Lismanis.