Eugenio Dittborn

Year and place of birth: 1943, Santiago de Chile, Chile Location: Santiago de Chile
Eugenio Dittborn

Pour le français, cliquez ici.

Voor Nederlands, klik hier.

Eugenio Dittborn is a Chilean painter, printmaker and video artist. In the early 1960s, Dittborn studied art at the Escuela de Bellas Artes of the Universidad de Chile in Santiago and later in Madrid, Berlin and Paris. Dittborn stayed in Chile during the military coup in the mid-1970s, when many decided to leave the country. This period affected Dittborn’s work and the concepts of home, travel and the notion of displacement became present in his practice.

As of the 1980s, Dittborn started to paint his so-called Airmail Paintings, paintings on large sheets of brown paper which were folded and sent in envelopes through the international mail system. This technique allowed the artist to participate in international exhibitions from within a society whose artistic production had diminished. The Airmail Paintings stand as an allegory for exile and allowed the artist to express his position freely in a country ruled by Augusto Pinochet from 1973 until 1990. The essence of the Airmail Paintings is the fact that the artworks are meant to be sent, in other words, their transit constitutes their only possibility of preservation.

In his works, Dittborn sees the relatively recent and violent history of Chile and South America as it is engraved on the country’s psyche as well as the collision of indigenous and colonial cultures as part of the continent’s history. By using metaphors of home and travel, he brings these histories closer together in his art.

Dittborn’s work has been shown internationally since the early 1980s. The first survey exhibition of his work took place in 1993 at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam and the Institute of Contemporary Art, London.

Listen here to the audio fragment
Become a Friend of S.M.A.K.
made by