The Interior (with Fish)

The Interior (with fish): Linocut, woodcut, latex, stitching, found objects, 3 470 x 3 000 mm



2014       The University of Johannesburg Art Gallery

2007       The Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg

2006       The National Arts Festival, Grahamstown

Collapsing cartographic, religious and medical references, the motifs constituting The Interior (with fish) are positioned in such a way so as to align with the map of Africa by G. Blaeu.

‘Dixie’s choice of a map by Blaeu is significant. Maps such as the one Dixie quotes here speak of an imperative to harness new topographical knowledge for the successful establishment of the commercial inter­ests of the Dutch East India Company. Signifying the end of the speculative geography that had been a feature of the sixteenth century, the seventeenth-century map ‘laid claims to its presence as a studiedly transparent image of an increasingly known world’ (Brotton 1997, 186). Dixie has, however, collapsed her reference to Blaeu with a second discourse – one that involves another kind of mapping. Presented as a substitute for the African continent, but adapted to accord with its contours, a medical diagram forms the central motif of The Interior. But this is no general map of the body, and instead one of an especially mysterious physiognomic terrain – female reproductive organs. The geographies of dark Africa and female reproductive anatomy have thus both, as it were, been charted and supposedly fixed through geographical and medical inquiry: as Dixie’s juxtaposition of these two discourses makes clear, to a masculine scientific imagination it seemed that the equally troublesome uncertainties signified by both of these ‘others’ – foreign topography and woman – might be overcome by their being methodically diagrammed. In The Interior, Dixie also reveals how an exploration of the dark mysteries of female anatomy becomes one in which scientific and libidinous imperatives are intricately fused.’ (Brenda Schmahmann, 2007)

In 2018 schools of fish were laminated onto both sides of the map, in effect making it an object which can hang in space and be looked at from both sides.

Further Reading:

Schmahmann, B. 2007. Figuring Maternity: Christine Dixie’s Parturient Prospects. Johannesburg, de Arte 75, University of South Africa Press.

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The Interior (with Fish)

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Parturient Prospects

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