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. 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. They creep along the edges, and often break free of the frame entirely, winding onto the walls and into the crevices of his installations' spaces.
Color for Herrero is an expressions 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, with solo exhibitions and public installations in São Paulo, Brazil; San Francisco, CA; Dusseldorf, Germany; Kanazawa, Japan; Tokyo, Japan; Mexico City, Mexico; Freiburg, Germany; and London, UK. Current museum commissions include Open Envelope at the Witte de With, Rotterdam, Netherlands and Alphabet, a site-specific installation for the atrium of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL. Herrero was the recipient of the Young Artist’s Prize at the 49th Venice Biennale (2001) and his work is in the permanent collection of numerous institutions including the Tate Modern, London, UK; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain; and the Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY. 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.