Dittborn, Eugenio (1943–)

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Dittborn, Eugenio (1943–)

Eugenio Dittborn (b. 1943), Chilean artist. Born in Santiago, Dittborn studied painting and printmaking at universities in Chile and Europe from 1962 to 1969. Like many Chilean artists of his generation, he rejects traditional painting and the conservative values he believes it embodies. In the 1970s Dittborn became a leading member of the Avanzada, a group of Chilean artists and critics who developed an artistic language of metaphor and analogy related to conceptual art, in part to criticize General Augusto Pinochet's military dictatorship. In 1983 he produced his first Pinturas Aeropostales (Airmail Paintings), the works for which he has become best known. Consisting of appropriated photographic images, as well as drawings, texts, and objects, applied to wrapping paper and—after 1988—synthetic nonwoven fabric, they are folded in envelopes and airmailed to exhibitions throughout the world. Quintessential examples of the political-conceptual art Dittborn helped pioneer, they address, among other issues, the peripheral condition to which Latin Americans are often subject. Dittborn won the Premio Nacional de Artes Plásticas de Chile in 2005. He lives in Santiago.

See alsoArt: The Twentieth Century; Pinochet Ugarte, Augusto.


Nelly Richard, "Margins and Institutions: Art in Chile Since 1973," in Art and Text 21 (May-June 1986).

Guy Brett, "Eugenio Dittborn," and Eugenio Dittborn, "Correcaminos—Roadrunner," both in Guy Brett, Transcontinental: An Investigation of Reality. Nine Latin American Artists, edited by Elizabeth A. Macgregor (1990).

Guy Brett and Sean Cubitt, Camino Way: The Airmail Paintings of Eugenio Dittborn (1991).

Mari Carmen Ramírez, "Blueprint Circuits: Conceptual Art and Politics in Latin America," in Museum of Modern Art, Latin American Artists of the Twentieth Century (1993).

Additional Bibliography

Goodwin, Alison. "Eugenio Dittborn and the Airmail Paintings: Remembrance in Chile After Pinochet." M.A. thesis, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2006.

Guernsey, Sarah E. "Memorial as a Tool of Dissent in the Work of Three Contemporary Latin American Artists: Doris Salcedo, Eugenio Dittborn, and Guillermo Kuitca." M.A. thesis, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2003.

Pastor Mellado, Justo. Dos textos tácticos. Santiago, Chile: Jeremy Button Ink, 1998.

                                        John Alan Farmer