Alejandro Obregón (1920−92) is considered by art critics and historians to be a Modern artist. His visual language shows a break between what we may call academic painting (naturalistic) and the first approximations of nonfigurative approaches, which meant the opening up to other forms of expression. It should come as no surprise that Panesso’s book introduces us to artists who represented a radical change for the Colombian visual arts between 1950 and 1960. This was particularly the case for both pictorial and sculptural approaches, in works whose formal nature gave evidence of risks taken in thinking about and making art.
The interview included by the journalist, Fausto Panesso (b. 1953) in Los intocables was an edited version of the book Alejandro Obregón ¡…A la visconversa! Conversaciones junto al mar [Alejandro Obregón … Upside Down! Conversations by the Sea]. Panesso’s opportunity for several encounters with Obregón allowed him to reach spaces previously impenetrable in the artist’s life, since Obregón could be laconic and measured with the press. As transcribed by Panesso, the painter’s voice is fluid. This document could be the most complete and nuanced interview ever given by the painter. It also reports on his contributions and changes to the art world as Director of the Escuela de Bellas Artes [School of Fine Arts], as well as the milieu in which his work reached maturity and his thoughts on the fact of being a painter living in Colombia. In telling his personal story, he never loses sight of how and where he fits into the art world.
The names of the other four artists who appear in the collection of interviews, Los intocables, are: Fernando Botero (b. 1932), Enrique Grau (1920−2004), Edgar Negret (1920−2012) and Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar (1923−2004).