press release

Opening reception 09.03.2022 18:00 – 20:00

Federico Herrero: Tactiles

Kunsthalle Lissabon presents Tactiles, the first solo show in Portugal by the Costa Rican artist Federico Herrero.

The word “tactil” derives from the ancient Greek "haptikós" which literally means “able to come in contact with”. Herrero's ability to come in contact with the surroundings goes far beyond simple physical contact, on the contrary it often begins with the simple gaze that delicately, brushes the surfaces that compose the cities and captures their most intense vibrations. Tactiles is conceived as a site-specific painting, where primordial architectural structures give a new rhythm to the use of the exhibition space, that becomes a support to the artist’s practice where colors seem to emerge spontaneously from the space itself, inserting landscapes within landscapes and creating something that seems to have always been there.

Known for his colorful and playable site-paintings Herrero’s research hides its roots in the urbanism and in the accurate observation of landscapes, cities, and of all the shapes and colors that silently populate them while shaping the visual culture of each place building a dialogue that sometimes sounds more like an argument. Being influenced by the shapes that sprinkle everyday life, the artist embraces the freedom in which colors, forms and culture collide to create a language free from any kind of sketches and preset ideas. However, nothing is left to chance in Herrero's research, indeed, every color and every shape are part of a precise sense of the site, using the intuition as the main tool, and sometimes the vocabulary of the abstract expressionism to build his visual poetry. He begins by following a feeling and takes it to its maximum expression often reaching a monumental approach.

Herrero captures the fragmentated and multifaceted nature of urban landscapes in a few simple elements, not only depicting a precise moment, but conveying a unique sense of duration, that include its continuous evolution and its adaptation to external factors. Looking at Federico Herrero's work, one does not have the impression of looking at a crystallized image, but, as John Berger wrote to describe Paul Strand photographs “one has the strange impression that the exposure time is the life time”.


Federico Herrero (1978, San José) lives and works in San José, Costa Rica. In 1998 he attended studies at Pratt Institute, New York and since 2001, he has presented numerous international solo exhibitions and public installations in cities such as New York, São Paulo; San Francisco; Dusseldorf, Germany; Kanazawa, Japan; Tokyo; Mexico City; and London. Recent major projects include: The sun and the moon, Mendes Wood DM, Brussels (2021); Barreras Blandas, Museo Nacional de Costa Rica, San Jose (2020); 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, and member of cero uno, both contemporary art spaces in his native San José, forces in the continued development of Central America’s artistic voice.

Kunsthalle Lissabon is kindly supported by República Portuguesa / DGArtes, Câmara Municipal de Lisboa, Coleção Maria e Armando Cabral.