Despacio announces a new curator and new programs

Despacio, a non-profit arts center based in San José, Costa Rica, is pleased to announce the appointment of a new curator, three new programs and a forward-looking upcoming exhibition.

Despacio announces a new curator and new programs

As one of the driving forces in the continued development of Central America’s artistic voice, Despacio is committed to growing and adapting to new situations that arise throughout the region. Therefore, it will launch three new programs, including a large group exhibition featuring artists never before shown in Central America.



In its first exhibition under new leadership, Despacio presents conceptual artworks spanning the past 40 years by artists who understand how to capture and create ingenious moments that inform our memories and provoke our deepest ruminations.

It’s no secret; some moments slip away into the mental archive forever, while others vanish before we fully sense them. However, our most fulfilling experiences connect us with what we are really searching for; they lead us to ask, what are we seeking when visiting an exhibition?

This question has generated many answers over time and remains significant today in an ever-changing world of influences and expectations. It is also all the more relevant to Central America, a region with limited outlets for exploring art beyond national museums.

All of the works on display in No One Belongs Here More Than You playfully interpret moments in time. Some focus on the absence of something during that very moment and others suggest that the moment is indicative of something greater. Regardless of their differences, each artist’s work activates the viewer’s imagination and seeks to explore art in the context of time, reminding the viewer that great works of art are living things and exceptionally timeless. No One Belongs Here More Than You mixes works by internationally celebrated conceptual artists with intriguing works by younger artists from Central America, the United States and Europe.



Liberated from the necessity of making sense, Despacio’s Archivo Central is uniquely comprised of juxtapositions of artworks, correspondence and traces of happenings and actions. It stands as a testament to an extraordinary freedom from convention.

While most archives are banished to remote corners of their institutions, starting this year, Despacio’s archive will share the exhibition space’s center stage. It will take on new forms and meanings in three iterations, each lasting the length of one year.

Each of these three “acts” (listed below) is inspired by the concept of “the absence of everything” and is intended to offer the view­er a universe of entry points through which to engage with and interpret the past.

Each act will bring together more than 50 carefully compiled works, including physical art objects, correspondence and traces of happenings and actions. At various times over the years, a selection of these works will be activated in the exhibition space alongside the archive itself.



Despacio’s Library in Residence program is an ever-evolving, guest-curated selection of artworks, artist books and unique handmade publications that together not only reimagine ingrained librarian systems but also examine literature’s role in contemporary art. The first 4 libraries in residence, opening on Thursday, March 3, 2016, include:

The Totality of True Propositions (Before) Julien Prévieux’s library takes the audience on a trip through time. His locally sourced collection of books brings together publications, manuals and handbooks that are filled with concepts and ideas that have not survived the inexorable passage of time. However informative these books are — or once were — their irrelevance today demonstrates how knowledge can ulti­mately be fleeting.

Training to Be a Girl. Despacio presents 16 books authored by New York-based photographer Sophie Barbasch. Her books, each of which were published in editions of 5, originated from and are inspired by the artist’s simple action of asking men on Craigslist questions such as, are you lonely? Is there anything you’ve never told anyone? She also requests of them: tell me why I’m a good girl; please send me a picture of your bed; and, please write me a love letter.

Bookshelf by Barbara Hoffmann. What are the favorite books of designers who normally create other people’s favorite books? We asked celebrated designer Barba­ra Hoffmann, who has been recognized with international awards — including “the most beautiful book in the world” with Studio Joost Grootens — to select approximately 20 books for display at Despacio. Her selection features publications that stand out for thoughtful inter­plays of form, material and content.

Life Is Elsewhere. In her little notebooks, Diana Abi Khalil writes and draws about dreams, ideas and feelings such as traveling to space, heartache and ques­tioning moments of doubts. Most of the artist’s notebooks are unfinished or forgotten; others have been smudged by rain or tears, and yet others were lost or gifted to friends or lovers. Playful yet honest, these notebooks each take on lives of their own and are for the first time ever united and on view at Despacio.