Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art Home


Document first page thumbnail
  • ICAA Record ID
    Luis Caballero : la voluntad provocadora / Beatriz González
    Luis Caballero. -- Madrid, España : Casa de América, 1994
    p. 15-18
    Book/pamphlet article – Essays
    González, Beatriz. "Luis Caballero: la voluntad provocadora." In Luis Caballero, 15- 18. Exh. cat., Madrid, Spain: Casa de América, 1994.
Editorial Categories [?]

In this article, Colombian artist Beatriz González provides what she describes as a “history of [Luis] Caballero’s artistic choices.” She begins with an analysis of possible early Colombian influences on Caballero, including religious painting and colonial religious wooden sculpture. She then discusses the influence of his professors—artist Juan Antonio Roda and art critic Marta Traba—at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá; his knowledge of art, especially the work of Diego Velázquez, and of Spanish culture; and his later contact, in Europe, with the work of Francis Bacon, Allen Jones, and Sebastián Matta. González points out the different phases in Caballero’s work, interspersing the text with passages of analysis by Traba, as well as comments by Colombian critic and curator Carolina Ponce de León and by Juan Calzadilla. González places emphasis on Caballero’s persistent “drive to provocation” in a language both classical and expressionist. The stages she cites are an early and “more modern” phase in which “tormented humanism” prevailed; the next phase evidences mastery of form and a combination of eroticism and mysticism; in the third phase, Caballero undertakes “pictorial staging” as he takes interest in the relation between eros and death; in the most recent phase, during which he works with models, the artist places emphasis on “the drama of desire” and sensuality. Throughout all these phases, González recognizes certain key concerns such as the body as “truth and metaphor,” as well as “the aura of human intensity surrounding his work.”


Written in 1992, this article offers an overview of the work of Luis Caballero (1943–1995). Significantly, it was written by Beatriz González (born 1938), someone close to the artist on different levels: on an artistic level (González is also a well-known painter); on a cultural level (they are both Colombians from the same generation); on an educational level (they were classmates at the Universidad de los Andes); and on a personal level (they were lifelong friends). Thanks to this combination of perspectives, important events in Caballero’s life are, in this text, interspersed with an analysis of his work at different moments. Indeed, González’s analysis sheds light on certain features of Caballero’s production that have changed over the years and others that have remained constant. Thanks to this multiple perspective, González can discuss the limitations and potential that their shared cultural context has implied, a sort of backdrop for the distinctive characteristics of Caballero’s work on artistic and human levels. An important complement to this article is González’s text on Caballero’s work from the late sixties (González, Beatriz. Luis Caballero. Sin Título 1966–1968, Bogotá, Museo Nacional de Colombia, 1997).  


This article was included in the catalogue to the exhibition of recent works by Luis Caballero held at the Casa de América in Madrid in 1994. It was then published, with some changes, in the retrospective book published the year Caballero died (González, Beatriz. “Luis Caballero: La voluntad perturbadora”, in Luis Caballero, Bogotá: El Sello Editorial, 1995).

María Margarita Malagón
Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
Courtesy of Beatriz González Aranda, Bogotá, Colombia