Federico Herrero’s intensely visual language is rooted in his observations of everyday life in Costa Rica’s ever evolving landscape, especially the way nature and culture collide. In his paintings on canvas, immersive installations, and public works, brightly hued organic shapes jostle against each other as they inhabit and negotiate space. They creep along the edges, and often break free of the frame entirely, wending onto the walls and into the crevices of his installations spaces. There are dissonances and harmonies, which threaten to momentarily unravel but are bound together with an energy that seems to operate on a nearly atomic scale.
Color for Herrero is an expression of space, both the absence of space and the abundance of space and the relationship between them. His canvases and installations therefore become exercises in seeing that compel the viewer to experience their environment in novel ways. Of his varied practice Herrero states, “When painting on a canvas, you know there is no transgression; it acquires a rhythm of production that is related to yourself...One deals with a personal universe, the other deals with a social vocation.” Through this duality, Herrero’s practice is essentially a study of liminal spaces—gaps between public and private, canvas and wall, figure and background, work and viewer--always infused with elements of play, pleasure, and humor.
Federico Herrero (b. 1978, San Jose, Costa Rica) has exhibited widely internationally, including in solo exhibitions in Sao Paolo, Brazil; San Francisco, CA; Dusseldorf, Germany; Kanazawa, Japan; Tokyo, Japan; Mexico City, Mexico; Freiburg, Germany; and London, UK. The recipient of the Young Artist’s Prize at the 49th Venice Biennale (2001), Herrero’s work is in the permanent collection of Tate Modern, London, UK; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain; and the Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY among others. Herrero is also the founder of Despacio, a contemporary art space in his native San Jose, which is an important force in the continued development of Central America’s artistic voice. He lives and works in San Jose, Costa Rica.