July 20, 2009

Federico Diaz Falcon, Monumento a los ojos/Monument for the eyes

(anonymous) picture from the website pueblos-espana.org

In terms of outsider environments I have some questions about this site, but let's first see what this one is about.

A monument

The site is located in the small community of Ambite, some 60 kms south of Madrid. The monumento is an assembly of three identical structures, the one in the middle being higher than the two flanking ones. The three structures resemble the facade of a church and all are topped with kind of a small bell tower.

The walls of this ensemble have been fully covered with plates, about 250 in total, which represent in text and picture all kind of themes that can be associated with eyes, partly of a universal character, partly reflecting actualities of the 1960's.

this and the next picture from the website popmadrid.com

Based on an idea of Federico Diaz Falcon (around 1900?? - 1982), the monument was constructed in the 1960's.

Diaz Falcon was a respected inhabitant of the community of Ambite. It is reported that he inherited enough money to live independently, writing texts, travelling the world and thinking about realising this monument.


When the creation was finished, around 1969, it was located in a garden which was surrounded by a wooden pallisade. This plot of land must have been private property, probably owned by Diaz Falcon (or his family), because it is reported that the community talked with his heirs about a transferral of the property rights of the grounds where the monument is located to the community. It is quite possible Diaz Falcon lived nearby the creation. However, I could not find reports about this.

Today the pallisade is gone, and the site has a rather public appearance, so a contemporary visitor gets the impression that the site has no relation with Diaz Falcon's place of living. I could not find data about this and this question remains unsolved up to now..

Diaz Falcon hasn't made the monument himself. A report by the Alpha Grupo, published in march 2010, says that he commissioned the project and that the structure was made by Angel Lopez Fernandez, a master builder who has constructed many more buildings in the region.

The plates have been produced by Talavera and Manises, a well known firm producing platter.

Diaz Falcon, however, can be seen as the auctor intellectualis of the monument.

So the only question that up to now remains unresolved is if he happened to live near where the creation is situated. Of course this is a minor question, only important with respect to what I define as an outsider environment.

Others wonder why Diaz Falcon happened to be fascinated by eyes and what kind of message he had for the onlookers. Not surprisingly, with regard to the themes of inspiration and meaning there are no definite answers, but as far as I understand, Diaz Facon just wanted to present the community with a nice monument at the entrance of the village. The various images of eyes on the plates can be seen on Serflac's video (see documentation).

The monument is in decay

After Diaz Falcon died in 1982 (and was buried in or around Ambite) the monument was not very well maintained and a number of plates with texts have disappeared.

Let's hope that the municipality will come into the position that it can take some preventive measures to protect the creation from further decay.

* Video by Grupo Alpha (4'53", Youtube, uploaded april 2010)

first published july 2009, revised oct 2010, dec 2012, sept 2015

Federico Diaz Falcon 
Monumento a los ojos 
Ambite, Madrid region, Spain
can be seen from the street

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