On Friday 29 October, the exhibition Aurora will open at Bo Bjerggaard Galleri with works by the young Costa Rican artist Federico Herrero.
The exhibition, which is Federico Herrero's first in Scandinavia, consists of new paintings and a site-specific work in the gallery space which Herrero will create in the days leading up to the exhibition opening.
Federico Herrero was born in 1978, and is regarded as one of the most important figures in Central American contemporary art. In 2001, he was awarded the best young artist prize at the Venice Biennale.
Herrero's artistic work is particularly influenced by the political and cultural traditions and powerful natural fecundity of his native Costa Rica, where he still lives and works. Herrero transfers the colours and forms of the lush landscape surrounding his home city of San José to walls or canvases. At the same time, we can sense an intense interplay between geometric and organic forms in the space between figuration and abstraction. Herrero is fascinated by the interface between culture and nature, and carefully monitors the urban environment in Costa Rica, which often seems on the verge of being reclaimed by the seemingly unstoppable vegetation. This can clearly be seen in many of the artist's site-specific works, where a staircase or the corner of a room may be "taken over" by outgrowing shapes and surfaces. He mixes the region's tradition of mural painting with multifarious sources of inspiration such as street signs, graffiti, tropical plants, multicoloured houses in rural areas and suburbs, advertisements, old signs, and non-language-based shapes, symbols and icons from the cityscape. All of this is combined in an unusual blend of traditional and folkloric elements, in sophisticated abstract forms.
A catalogue is being published in association with the exhibition, with a text written by Professor Martin Zerlang of the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies at the University of Copenhagen. On Herrero's intentions with respect to the painting traditions of his home country, Professor Zerlang writes:
The interaction between art and life has roots that reach well back into the history of the avant-garde. But when Herrero paints murals, it is not in the tradition of artists like Diego Rivera and José Orozco. The link between the political and the paternalistic is not his concern – his aim is more to change viewpoints than to transform society. As Fernand Leger put it: "a naked wall is a dead surface – a coloured wall is a living surface." Herrero's aim is to electrify the city.
Federico Herrero has held solo exhibitions at a number of museums around the world, including in Germany, Italy, Japan and Colombia, and his works are represented at Mudam Luxembourg, the Santander Museum in Spain, the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa and the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, Japan.
The opening reception will be held from 4.00 - 6.00 pm on Friday 29 October.
At 4.00 pm on the same day, there will be an ARTIST TALK with Federico Herrero at Karrierebar, Flæsketorvet 57. All are welcome to both events.
The exhibition Federico Herrero - Aurora can be seen until 29 January 2011.