Lulu is pleased to present a solo exhibition of the Costa Rican, San José-based painter Federico Herrero.
Federico Herrero’s work responds to the urban environment of the city. What he makes stands as a direct rebuttal to those who assume that painting is irrelevant, elitist, or precious. Painting, his work contends, is not something removed from but deeply embedded in the everyday life of a city, taking place on curbs, buildings, street signs and a multitude of other surfaces everywhere. It is integral to our sensual and semiotic perception of the world. In what he creates, paint is liable to behave as it does in an urban context. It is for this reason he works with acrylic, oil, spray paint and ink and that his paintings often exceed the canvas and extend out to the environment of the gallery or exhibition itself.
His formal language straddles Latin American and more Western European traditions of abstraction. Bright, multicolored, and irregularly shaped forms stack up willy nilly upon one another much the way urban growth might develop in a city. Indeed, what he depicts can, at times, be read as a topographical view of the world seen from a bird’s eye perspective, at other times, a landscape in profile divided by a horizon line. In this way, the work possesses the ability to exist on several pictorial planes at once, as landscape, portrait, and the perfectly flat plane of paint. That said, for all his engagement with the practical and quotidian life of this medium, what he makes cannot be limited to such functional descriptions: a highly personal, if idiosyncratic quality of making joyously pervades everything he produces, rendering it irreducible to any kind of illustration.
For his exhibition at Lulu, Herrero will concentrate on lesser known aspect of his production: small painting. Notorious for working in a variety of predominantly large scales, Herrero here indulges in a more domestic version of his practice. Works range from his more antic proliferations of imagery to much more spare fields of color. It offers a rare opportunity to experience his work at its most distilled, object-like and intimate.
Federico Herrero (b. 1978, San José, Costa Rica) lives and works in San José, Costa Rica. He has presented solo exhibitions and public installations in New York, São Paulo; San Francisco; Dusseldorf, Germany; Kanazawa, Japan; Tokyo; Mexico City; and London. Recent major institutional projects include Tempo aberto, Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói, São Paulo (2019); Open Envelope, Witte de With, Rotterdam, the Netherlands (2018); and Alphabet, a site-specific installation for the atrium of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2018). Herrero received 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 José, which is an important force in the continued development of Central America’s artistic voice.