An extensive new monograph on Costa-Rica-based artist Federico Herrero, featuring his work of the past 15 years as well as 4 commissioned texts on more than 300 pages.
Federico Herrero is considered one of the most important contemporary artists in Central America today. Some monochrome and some multi-coloured, his space-embracing abstract paintings feature an intense and luminous chromaticity. Informed by urban landscapes, the energy of a developing country’s incomplete and constantly changing structures, and Herrero’s own enthusiasm for the nature of his home country, his paintings also bear reference to the work of artists such as Roberto Matta or Hélio Oiticica, as well as to the tradition of colour-field painting. It is important to Herrero that his painting is not viewed in an elite and isolated context, but that it becomes part of society and of everyday-life.
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: high-rise façades 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 of age – Herrero coats building surfaces with the same abstract colour formations that are also found on his canvases. Here and there one can see the influence of urban environments with their road signage, coloured façade designs and graffiti. These markings and colour zones establish a basic visual communication that Herrero seeks to extend to his painting. The dominance of blue and green in his work adds a reference to his native country’s rich tropical flora, which incessantly seems to overgrow and claim back citified area. His projects in the public space, which are often located in socially disadvantaged neighbourhoods and which he creates with the assistance of local communities, also testify to Herrero’s almost utopian belief in the positive effect of colour and the possibility of improving individual living conditions through painting. Thus, his work features a component of critical reflection on modern life between built and natural habitat.
Published by Sies + Höke, Düsseldorf / Verlag Kettler, Dortmund
Texts by Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, Lisette Lagnado, Sandino Scheidegger and Chris Sharp
Graphic design by Èloïse de Guglielmo & Amélie du Petit Thouars (MOSHI MOSHI Studio), Paris
Printing by Druck und Verlag Kettler GmbH, Bönen/Westfalen
Bookstores can order this catalogue through Verlag kettler, Dortmund <www.verlag-kettler.de>
Individual copies can be purchased through the gallery.