When Eugenio Dittborn explores history, he does not consult "famous lives, exemplary deeds," and "legendary dates." He is interested in day-to-day social life, whether in the remains of transient events or the traces of jumbled-up narratives. In many cases, he simply enlarges the detail.
The following text is transcribed from the envelope accompanying the artwork:
The faces in red fluorescent paint were drawn directly onto the work by Margarita Dittborn at my request, when she was eight years old. The printed and sketched faces are:
1. Six mug shots of Chilean women thieves published in a criminology magazine in the 1930s, which Dittborn encountered 14 years ago in Santiago, Chile.
2. Four faces of members of the Selknam, Yamana, and Alalakwulup tribes from Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost region of South America. Martin Gusinde, a German anthropologist who lived among these aborigines in the 1920s, photographed the faces. Dittborn found them in a book written by Gusinde.
3. Four faces drawn by schizophrenic patients at the Psychiatric Hospital in Santiago. They are part of a series that Dittborn requested from the director of the hospital.
4. Five faces Dittborn commissioned from his neighbor Rodrigo Salazan.
5. Five "identikits" made by the Chilean police in 1989 and lent to Dittborn in 1991.
6. A face Dittborn discovered in a book called School Handiwork.
7. A photograph of a face--actually the profile of a skull wearing a fur cap--that Dittborn found in an archeology book dealing with the Arica culture, which flourished in northern Chile 6,000 years ago.
8. A computer-generated face commissioned by Dittborn and drawn by Margarita in 1990.
9. The profile of a face found drawn on a telephone book. Dittborn enlarged the image by photomechanical means, printed it on thin, non-woven fabric, and later stitched it onto the work. He did this for all black and white faces in the 10th History of the Human Face.