The Binding: Christine Dixie, 2014
Fourthwall Books recently hosted selected guests at the launch of The Binding, where book artist Christine Dixie, book binder Helen van Aswegen, printer Bevan de Wet and Graeme Reid from Human Rights Watch, New York spoke about the project and the making of the book.
The Binding began as an installation made in 2010 and consists of three distinct sections: Six large-scale prints of a sleeping boy hang against the wall. Mirroring these images of the sleeping boy and lying on altars/beds are embodied shadows of the child made from toy soldiers. In front of these altars hang veils embroidered with weapons and an image of the boy in the stance of a soldier. The work explores the transitional moment in a boy’s life as he hovers between the world of the mother and the world of the father. A symbolic sacrifice—a ritual linked to the establishment of male identity—takes place in the dreamtime of the child. As he drifts between sleeping and waking, passive and active states, his shadow lies in an indeterminate place that suggests hospital ward, altar or army barracks, all transitory spaces in which rituals related to the transformation of the body take place. The Binding materialises this transformation and the entrance into a masculine world.
The Binding was first exhibited at Gallery AOP, Johannesburg in 2010 and traveled to the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown. The installation was purchased by the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington DC and will be exhibited at the MMK Museum fur Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, in 2014.
Christine Dixie is an artist and senior lecturer in the Fine Art Department at Rhodes University. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including her series Even in the Long Descent I–V is on exhibition at the National Museum of African Art as part of a larger exhibition, Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa, curated by Karen Milbourne.
This event was made possible with the support of the Rhodes University Research Committee.