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Exhibition Turns Gallery Into Full-Fledged Candy Factory

Oscar Murillo is channeled some Willy Wonka vibes at his show at David Zwirner.

by Ella Riley-Adams
Apr 24 2014, 4:40pm

After Opening Ceremony dripped 2,000 pounds of chocolate down the walls of their New York Fashion Week runway, we were left craving more edible artistry. Thankfully, Colombian artist Oscar Murillo has made our cocoa dreams come true. Tonight, the 28-year-old Murillo opens an operating chocolate factory in David Zwirner’s 19th Street gallery. The gallery-wide exhibition is called A Mercantile Novel, and Murillo has invited 13 candy makers from La Paila’s Colombina chocolate factory to recreate their process in downtown Manhattan. 

They’ll produce chocmelos, the chocolate covered marshmallows that Colombina is known for. Gallery visitors are invited to take boxes of the candy and document the chocolate’s journey throughout New York via social media. already displays reposted Instagrams from The Armory, Hotel Americano, and Artsy. When other visitors post photos with the hashtag #mercantilenovel, they automatically enter the Mercantile Novel lottery. Winners get select prizes from Colombina and Oscar Murillo.

Murillo hopes A Mercantile Novel and its documentation will inspire thoughts on globalization, migration, and social mobility. Extending the exhibition beyond the gallery, Murillo will take the Colombina factory workers on a tour through the various neighborhoods of New York. None of the workers have been to this city before, so Murillo will film their new experiences and reactions and turn them into projections to be blasted on the gallery walls. Murillo has been compared to Basquiat in the past, but today he’s taking a turn towards globally-conscious Willy Wonka. Amazingly, we all get a golden ticket to his candy land. 

Vintage photo of workers at Colombina chocolate factory

The exhibition at David Zwirner Gallery

Oscar Murillo eating chocolate

The artist and Colombina team

A Mercantile Novel is on display in New York until June 14, 2014. See David Zwirner's website for more details.

h/t David at

Images via


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