«In memoriam» 1943 – 1995


2nd Floor Gallery
September 29 to October 30, 2015

Galería El Museo pays tribute to Luis Caballero, in commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of his death, with the exhibition In Memoriam 1943 – 1995. This retrospective displays 40 works that follow the master’s career from its beginnings and all the way through the nineties, where the human body was a source of emotions and feelings that unfolds between religion, eroticism and violence.

His work, dominated by the magnitude of nudity, insisted on figurative painting through the passionate gesture. For Caballero, the reflective moment of anatomy was joyful and marked with desire. He studied the pose and stroked the angles in a perpetual exploration to create a sacred image. The ambiguity exalted in his work moves and confronts the audience all the time, helping it to understand that unique state of grace in which Caballero created his work.

In the sixties Caballero moved to Paris, where he focused on figurative study and had his first exhibition. His work at that time reflected the influences of artists like Francis Bacon, William Kooning and Jean Dubuffet, which used the repetition of the figure, the sense of the erotic and the palette of pop art. In 1968 Caballero painted the polyptych La Cámara del Amor (The Chamber of Love) for the Coltejer Biennale, which was the most important event of the visual arts in Latin America in that moment. Caballero sought to create a space where the public could delve into the work and be touched by it. Caballero’s figures reflected a need for unity and heartbreak, which was opposed to the currents of abstraction taking place at the time.

In the seventies Caballero focused on the male nude. Religious art plunged into morning and denied pleasure to spread suffering through the body, and this becomes a vocabulary in which Caballero found his fixation with eroticism and mannerism, as if he were an artist in the 16th century and not a contemporary one. Exaggeration in the confrontation and the relationship between bodies became the setting for the creation of Caballero’s work.

In the eighties Caballero consolidates the language in which his work takes place. Painting becomes the creation of a sacred image, where violence and religion are established as the points of reference and pain and pleasure continuously oppose each other as a fixation he had since childhood that found rest in the power of the stroke. Oil paintings prevailed in the nineties, where the stain framed volumes and his technical capacity had reached its peak.

Caballero immersed himself in the creative search of that great masterpiece unavoidable for both he and the viewer: «A painting physically “containing” everything I’ve ever painted: man alone, alive, dead, suffering, loving, both beautiful and terrible, and his relationship with other men, framed by desire or compassion; and also my feelings: adoration of beauty and strength and when faced with fallen strength». Caballero created an image that referred to his pictorial realities, and therefore established a great legacy, which, twenty years after his untimely death, is undoubtedly the great work he sought and has become essential in the history of national and international contemporary art today.