Roberto Murillo

Costa Rica, b.1976

Lives and works in San José, Costa Rica

Roberto Murillo utilises charcoal and mixed media to craft large-scale, imposing and emotionally charged monochrome works, which depict a choreography of intertwined nude bodies that traverse the expanse of the paper. These bodies serve as a vivid representation of human emotions and intricate relationships.

Drawing inspiration from a diverse range of influences, including Eugène Delacroix and Lucian Freud, as well as influences from literature, dance, and cinema, Murillo delves into the complexities of human existence, portraying the delicate balance between psychological and philosophical transformation. Murillo states: “My art represents a way to fill the void of existence and to find happiness in the process; it is intellectual and spiritual development”.

Dancers and performers are his subjects, as he subverts conventional ideals of beauty and illuminates the raw authenticity of the human form. Embracing this essence of imperfection, he celebrates old or fat bodies, advocating for their unfiltered representation.

Murillo operates between the abstract and the figurative, employing chiaroscuro to craft bold contrasts of light and dark. This technique, at times, reveals only select parts of the body emerging from the dense veil of charcoal while concealing others, evoking a sense of mystery and depth. Simultaneously, Murillo captures movement and dynamism in his figures, as if they are perpetually engaged in an eternal dance — whether cascading across the canvas or seamlessly melding into the shadows of the medium. Murillo’s art stands as a testament to the power of the human form and its eternal relevance in the ever-changing world.

Roberto Murillo in his studio, 2023 (Photography by Julio Sequeira)

"I capture the essence of humanity; using the human form to bridge the realms of art and life". Murillo, 2023