By María José Monge, Visual Arts Curator, MBCCR
Although Costa Rican artist Crisanto Badilla Argüello (1941) makes use of xylography, painting and sculpture to further his art, it is his sculpting that has earned him a place in Costa Rican art history.
Badilla sticks to sculpting tradition, drawing from pre-Columbian and indigenous sculpting expressions, while focusing his research on each material’s expressive possibilities. His carvings –which include both stone and wood, as well as his cast bronze sculptures– stray from this tradition, centering instead on current world issues. He touches on topics dealing with human existence, using allegoric images that stand out due to their dreamlike quality and their old world feel.
His work includes a great quantity of public monuments. He has exhibited his work both individually and collectively on several occasions in Costa Rica and has also won several awards, among them the “Aquileo J. Echeverría” National Sculpture Award in 1973.
Cabeza pensamiento belongs to the Cabezas-pensamiento series, which in time have become a symbol of his work. In them, the artist has found a simple way to expand his research on the expressive possibilities of sculpting materials. This simplicity of form is counterbalanced by the ample meaning of the word cabeza (“head,” in English). It is with good reason that this image appears in artistic expressions of a vast number of cultural groups from the birth of humanity until or days, leading Badilla to employ it to set forth his thoughts on the human condition.
This work of art stands for Badilla’s ability to synthesize, showing a hint of old-world feel and an allegoric tone that characterizes his work. It accounts for how the artist uses local referents to focus on innate issues regarding the human condition.
How to cite this article
Monge Picado María José. (2014). Cabeza pensamiento. San José, Costa Rica: Fundación Museos del Banco Central. Available at: link