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Eugenio Dittborn: 'Airmail Paintings' review

Art Goldsmiths CCA , New Cross Until Sunday December 12 2021 Free
Recommended
4 out of 5 stars
Eugenio Dittborn, Coudre Provisoirement a Long Points, Airmail Painting No. 183 (2011-2012). Courtesy of Alexander and Bonin, New York. Photographer: Jorge Brantmeyer
Eugenio Dittborn, Coudre Provisoirement a Long Points, Airmail Painting No. 183 (2011-2012). Courtesy of Alexander and Bonin, New York. Photographer: Jorge Brantmeyer

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Eugenio Dittborn was making lockdown art long before Covid. The Chilean artist spent years of his life under Pinochet’s brutal dictatorship. Travel, communication, life in general, all were tightly, suffocatingly controlled. 

So he turned to airmail. Using huge sheets of paper and fabric that could be folded down into envelopes, he created works that obsess over and explore ideas of movement, oppression and freedom. 

Each work here is a grid, thanks to the folds, pasted over with found imagery and simple drawings, all shown next to the envelopes they were sent in. One is covered with photos of indigenous Chileans who disappeared under Pinochet, another with news photos of a crashed postal plane in the snows of the Andes, another shows an indigenous Chilean who was bought for the price of a few buttons and taken to London aboard the beagle alongside Chalres Darwin. Brutal stuff.

And airmail is the key to it all, it is the art. By folding his paintings and sending them around the world, Dittborn gives his ideas freedoms that his subjects were never afforded. They’re letterbombs that explode with art. As he says on one envelope, he uses airmail to ‘conquer isolation and international confinement’. It’s artistic rebellion in the truest sense of the word. 

And with pandemic-enforced travel restrictions in place, and endless global oppressions to confront, Dittborn’s airmail art is still here, still kicking against the system, and still relevant.

Details

Venue name: Goldsmiths CCA
Address: St James
New Cross
London
SE14 6AD
Price: Free

Dates And Times

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