About the exhibition

In order to dimension the richness of artistic production in a period that had not been thoroughly researched, the Museums of the Central Bank of Costa Rica opened the exhibition to the public: Visual Arts in the Seventies.

As a result of the research conducted by the visual arts curatorship of the Museums, the exhibition shows the diverse preoccupations to which the plastic artists responded during that period. It also acknowledges that decade as one of the most complex and richest of the visual arts in Costa Rica.

A heterogenic and multifaceted artistic field was set in a context marked by political tensions, social unrest, intellectual exchange networks, and the profiling of an unprecedented, cultural, institutional platform.

The research gathers features that distinguished the decade: the concurrence of up to six different generations of artists;  the coexistence of three contrasting aesthetical postures; the influence of art training centers and state bodies of the time; the overtone in technique; and the exploration of resources, media, and new languages in graphic arts, installation, performance, object art, and video art.

The Debate Between Narratives

Through the context of the works and the voices of those leading the seventies, the research defines three major sections that make up the visit throughout the exhibition.  

The first section covers works of those who spearheaded the idea of art being an independent “universal value,” a mean for denouncing any political or social issue. Here are also gathered works of those who devoted to creating poetic, fantastic, or magic worlds.

The second section of the hall groups works that–owing to their interest in local sceneries, the shared history with regards to ancestry and rural life–were politically used to prove and highlight the uniqueness of being Costa Rican. It was fostered by granting recognition (awards and contests) to artists with an orientation toward landscape art and for publications aiming at proving the existence of an own artistic tradition.

The exhibition ends with the works of those who understood their practice as a political exercise. This posture stood for the idea of art as a testimony of a period and a social transformation agent, in addition to the exploration of new languages, media, and resources. Works of artists such as Ottón Solís (1946), Otto Apuy (1949), Mario Parra (1950), Roberto Cabrera (1939-2014,) or Victoria Cabezas (1950) are clear examples throughout the visit.