Turner Prize artist exhibits pupils desk doodles at his old school

Oscar Murillo Frequencies

Oscar Murillo, Frequencies (Escuela Menorah, Bogotá, Colombia), 2013-ongoing. - Credit: Courtesy the artist

Turner Prize-winning artist Oscar Murillo will bring together 40,000 canvases by more than 100,000 pupils across the world in a major installation at his old school.

Marking the culmination of his eight-year project Frequencies, the large scale work goes on show in its entirety for the first time in the sports hall at Cardinal Pole secondary.

Born in La Paila, Colombia, the 35-year-old attended the Hackney School in Morning Lane from 11-18 after arriving in London with his family. Murillo went on to study at the University of Westminster and the Royal College of Art and is now based in north-east London.

Since 2013, he has sent pieces of blank canvas to schools around the globe asking them to be fixed to classroom desks for a term. Students aged 10 to 16 were invited to mark, draw, scribble or write on the canvases with more than 300 schools in over 30 countries taking part, including Brazil, China, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lebanon, Nepal, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, the UK, and US.

Cantinho Brasileiro, Toyohashi, Japan, February 2016 - August 2016, 54x78cm

A detail of Oscar Murillo's Frequencies, 2013-ongoing (Toyohashi, Japan, 2016) Courtesy Oscar Murillo and Frequencies Foundation. - Credit: Tim Bowditch

Viewed en masse, the canvases - often layered with drawings, slogans and motifs from several different students - convey the "conscious and unconscious energy of young minds at their most absorbent, optimistic and conflicted". A blend of universally recognised slogans and some culturally specific they are both local and global.

FF-IT-01-016, Istituto Superiore Isaac Newton, Padova, Italy, November 2014 - March 2015, 60x81cm

A detail of Frequencies Istituto Superiore Isaac Newton, Padova, Italy, November 2014 - March 2015. Courtesy Oscar Murillo and Frequencies Foundation - Credit: Tim Bowditch

Run by Artangel, the free exhibition from July 24 to August 30 August allows visitors to explore the entire archive of artworks with video screens showing details of the works.

At the heart of the sports hall, Murillo has designed an arena where they 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. And Disrupted Frequencies, a series of large-scale paintings by Murillo featuring multiple Frequencies canvases stitched together, with his own markings on them will also be on show.

Tai Shani, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock and Oscar Murillo, after being announced as the winner

Tai Shani, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock and Oscar Murillo, after being announced as the winners for the 2019 Turner Prize - Credit: PA

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Frequencies has previously been shown at the 56th Venice Biennale and as a solo exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, with future plans to exhibit in Tokyo and New York. 


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