Carolina Guillermet

Costa Rica, b.1979

Lives and works in San José, Costa Rica and Geneva, Switzerland

Carolina Guillermet is an artist, art teacher, and consultant who produces paintings and tapestries with a distinctive focus on geometric applications of colour. Informed by her architectural interests, Guillermet explores the interplay of volumes and space, drawing inspiration from urban colour interventions and the rich tradition where colour helps to shape our cityscapes.

As the granddaughter of the renowned Costa Rican abstract artist Lola Fernández, Guillermet aligns herself with the philosophies of colour theorists such as Josef Albers; her work emphasises the contextual nature of colour, rejecting its isolation. This perspective is evident in her paintings representing San José neighbourhoods, where irregular shapes and shades of houses and roads are transformed into volumetric expressions, capturing the essence of the surroundings. Her tapestries, guided by the same principles of colour, echo the influence of Anni Albers, Josef’s wife, a textile artist deeply inspired by Peruvian patterns.

Textiles is a familial legacy for Guillermet as she follows in the footsteps of her grandfather, J.P. Guillermet who was famed for his tapestries. Employing the tufting technique with allergen-free synthetic wool, she creates highly textural surfaces that are fixed securely with latex on rubberised backs. Her tapestries can be installed on walls or simply placed on the floor.

In both her paintings and tapestries, Guillermet weaves together her architectural influences with a rich palette to create vibrant and emotionally resonant works. For Guillermet, colour goes beyond mere visual aesthetics; it acts as a medium for emotional impact. Summing it up succinctly, she states, “Colour is a feeling I prefer. We feel colour; it can be as simple as that.”

Awarded the National Prize of Painting in Costa Rica in 2006, Guillermet currently holds a professorship at the School of Fine Arts at the University of Costa Rica. She has undertaken roles as a Curatorial Fellow at the Queens Museum in New York (2013) and a Curatorial Consultant at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles (2015). Additionally, she participated in residencies across South Korea, China, and the USA and has enjoyed solo exhibitions in Costa Rica, Switzerland, and France.

Carolina Guillermet in her studio.

Carolina Guillermet in her studio, 2023 (Photography by Julio Sequeira)

“Colour is enigmatic. It means something different to everyone. As with emotions, you cannot define it”. Guillermet, 2023