Christine Dixie’s To Be King was an intriguing highlight in a sea of culture-shaking art at the Personal Structures exhibition in Venice last weekend. Dixie’s work contending with thousands of pieces of honed and thoughtful art from around the world.
But contend it did, and the sheer thought put into Dixie’s work took its observer from the origins of Velasquez’s 1656 Las Meninas through to Foucault’s 1974 essay on the masterpiece and into Dixie’s own personal context today.
Velasquez’s great work’s most pioneering trait is the gaze of its protagonists. Fixated outward of the painting, straight into us the spectator who by chance also see a reflection in the at the background of the painting – one of the royal couple. Foucault pointed out that this was an early example of art which represents representation itself. Representation is a means to an end, the subject and the object.
Dixie explores the idea of representation even more critically: theorising what if the Infanta was black, and stood silently outside of the picture – challenging the notions illicitly portrayed by colonial art through a bombastic, lyrical and unnerving video installation.
Christine Dixie’s To Be King will be at the Palazzo Bembo in Venice from 13 May – 26 November 2016