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Chilean Prints

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Sin rastros (Pintura aeropostal núm. 13) [No Tracks (Airmail Painting No. 13)]

20th century
175 cm x 145.5 cm (68 7/8 in. x 57 5/16 in.)

Eugenio Dittborn (Santiago de Chile, Chile, 1943 - ) Primary

Object Type: print
Artist Nationality: Latin America, Chilean
Medium and Support: Photoscreenprint with ink and paint
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Archer M. Huntington Museum Fund, 1991
Accession Number: 1991.85

During the dictatorships of the 1970s and 1980s, many artists chose to produce highly coded works to escape censorship. In response to Chile’s military regime, Eugenio Dittborn developed a series of “airmail paintings,” works that could be folded up and circulated through the postal service. When a painting arrived at its exhibition venue, it was unfolded and displayed alongside the envelope in which it had been delivered. Like Mail art, Dittborn’s paintings circumvent normal channels of circulation and distribution of art, an issue of particular relevance to artists working both under systems of repression and outside the U.S./European exhibition mainstream. The images in this “painting” are taken from mug shots of petty criminals found in detective magazines from the 1930s and 1940s, as well as a photograph from a Chilean newspaper of a mummy and a print of a hanged man made by the Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada. They stand in for “los desaparecidos,” victims of the dictatorship that were disappeared “without traces.”

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