HIDE

HIDE

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Transitional Spaces

From the Corporeal Prospects Catalogue (2007)

A Sidelong Glance: Christine Dixie’s thresholds – David Bunn

 

It is also in Even in the Long Descent that the ontology of thresholds takes on a more philosophical dimension. The deconstructive, planar rotation of figures gives them an uncanny relation to their topographical context. Are they rising or falling? Are they survivors or revenants? As we look, are we unearthing them? This dissociated being-in-space seems to play out a final movement in the intent that was visible in Dixie’s very first bible-referenced etchings. For all these figures, lovingly etched into their contexts and then somehow set off from it, with a slight tilt, or sidelong glance, the ontology of the human form hovers somewhere between the angelic and the quotidian.

Embedding Materiality

Redoubled Lives: Christine Dixie at the Millennium Gallery – David Bunn

 

In Christine Dixie's world, one representation always drags a shadow alternative with it, a hitherto unnoticed obverse upon which it depends for meaning. Look at those exquisitely hand coloured botanical etchings documenting her great grandfather's four main crops. They show a Linnean sequence of plant parts: but the syntactical development of the pumpkin flower, neatly ordered and coloured a, b, and c, is marred by an intrusion, the mapped outline of the great grandfather's farm. This is a lovely meditation on the contingency of value: botanical science anatomizes the crop; and the force of cartography secures the plot of land necessary to produce it. But it does not end there: the top section is then stitched, literally, into another realm of meaning: at the base of each of the prints, there is a collection of uncannily associated objects, sticky, and oozing, as though dragged up from some well of snail slime.

Text/Image

Redoubled Lives: Christine Dixie at the Millennium Gallery – David Bunn

 

This show is part of the larger exhibition project called "Hide," Christine Dixie's meditation on a keyword that spans a range of lexical associations from foetal cowering to embossing.

One of the revelations of show is the discovery that the Anglo Saxon noun "hide" is associated with an apportionment of land. In the linguistic history, therefore, a brutal set of equivalences is sedimented: the carrying capacity of the land needed to feed a flock stands in a relationship of mathematical equivalence to the product, the amount of wool clip. This highly instrumental form of equivalence is examined in the main installation: the outlines of the far boundaries are clipped from the fleece, making up an exact equivalence in the encofflning shape which then contains the product, as though the wool had a willingness of its own and fell neatly into the prepared receptacle.

Re(viewing) Landscape

From the Corporeal Prospects Catalogue (2007)

A Sidelong Glance: Christine Dixie’s thresholds –  David Bunn

 

In the beautiful sequence of five panels titled Even in the Long Descent from an exhibition entitled Hide, the contrast between etching and mezzotint is exploited. In each panel, the normal scale of value in landscape is reversed: the top third of each displays a gently receding farm topography, but the entire lower two thirds shows another perspective. Caught between these two planes, on the threshold between them, we are unsure whether the lower view is of the stratigraphy of an unearthed grave, a bank of earth, or a pool of ox blood…..

Narratives/Intertextuality

From the Corporeal Prospects Catalogue (2007)

A Sidelong Glance: Christine Dixie’s thresholds –  David Bunn

 

The “descent” that is spoken about in this work seems to me profoundly ambiguous. It may be a reference to death, and the harrowing of hell, even the transcendental in the everyday. For me (and for Rilke, even for Wim Wenders), this celebration of the uncanny humanness of form can be likened to those stories in which angels take on human corporeality and decide not to return.

End

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