La lumpérica (tríptico) [La lumpérica (Triptych)]
69.2 cm x 91.4 cm x 12.7 cm (27 1/4 in. x 36 in. x 5 in.)
(Santiago de Chile, Chile, 1947 – )
Latin America, Chilean
Medium and Support:
Paint, photography, silkscreen, photomechanical process and mylar on mat...
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Archer M. Huntington Museum Fund, 1989
Díaz’s epic works depict the difficulties confronted by Chilean society under its military dictatorship regime (1973–90). Using collage as his principal technique, he combines varied materials into single compositions that depict symbols from Chile’s history. Through his work Díaz criticizes Chile’s main institutions of control, the military regime and the Catholic Church, as a protest against oppression. Among Díaz’s key symbolic references are the Chilean artist and writer Diamela Eltit and Sor Teresa, Chile’s first saint. By including Eltit, Díaz evokes an artist who subverts the regime’s censorship measures and breaks numerous social conventions, while he uses Sor Teresa to represent the conservatism that characterizes Chile’s elite. By pitting conflicting icons against one another, Díaz creates a complex narrative about repression in his homeland.
Both Eltit and Sor Teresa feature in the triptych La lumpérica (tríptico) [The Underclass (Triptych)]. In the middle panel of the triptych Díaz fuses the women together by collaging a photograph of Eltit performing the play Zona de dolor III [Zone of Pain III] (1983) over a portrait of Sor Teresa. The title of the triptych itself speaks to Díaz’s fascination with Eltit, whose 1983 novel, Lumpérica, focuses on marginal members of society who reclaim a public plaza from the government. By coupling Eltit with Sor Teresa, Díaz underscores the tensions between the dominant and dissenting elements of Chilean society during the dictatorship, while illustrating the power of images to symbolize freedom and liberty.