abc - art berlin contemporary
Sep 17th – 20th, 2015
Federico Herrero is considered one of the most important contemporary artists in Latin America. Some monochrome and some multicoloured, his abstract paintings reference the North American tradition of colour-field painting, as well as the intense and bright colours of Latin American artists from the Tropicália movement, such as Hélio Oiticica. Further influences are to be found in urban landscapes and Herrero’s own intense engagement with architecture.
As support for his paintings Herrero not only uses canvases of sometimes extreme dimensions, but also volumes made of concrete, walls and the public space: highrise facades in São Paulo, bridge piers in Colombia, fishermen’s huts in Basel or the Venice Biennale’s crumbling wall, for the design of which he received the “special prize for young artists” in 2001, at only 21 years old – Herreo coats building surfaces with the same abstract colour formations that are also found on his canvases.
At abc, Herrero presents a new group of canvases in varying dimensions, as well as a painted volume made of wood and concrete. Some of the canvases are populated by partly geometric, partly organic multi-colored shapes whose clear, unmixed colour contrasts create a tension that is interspersed by occasional cartoonesque drawings and patches of spray paint. They are nonrepresentational narratives which, as Chris Sharp noted in his recent article for Artforum, have similarity with "improbable cartoon landscapes seen from a plane window". The painted „volume“ made of wood and concrete is partially covered in pale blue paint. The artist calls these works "volumes", indicating the fact that for him they represent supports for his painting. Similarly to Herrero’s sky blue monochrome paintings, these works investigate limits: those of the concrete or the canvas, and those of an imaginary space, a certain emptiness. Seriously and precisely, but also with a certain cheerfulness, they explore where painting begins and ends.
Federico Herrero (1978) lives and works in Costa Rica. Recent solo exhibitions were held at La casa encendida, Madrid (2014); 21st Century Art Museum, Kanazawa, Japan (2012); Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2011); Casa de America, Madrid (2011); Kunstverein Freiburg, Germany (2008) and CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2008). Recent group exhibitions were 10th Mercosul Biennial - Messages From a New America, Bienal de Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brazil (2015); Pangaea II: New Art From Africa and Latin America, Saatchi Gallery, London (2015) and Under the Same Sun: Art from Latin America Today, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2014).