Contested Biography I (Quadrat) 2017
Cyanotype on 1980 edition of Amalie Dietrich: Ein Leben by Charitas Bischoff, stitched, 138 x 216 cm approx.
Amalie Dietrich: Ein Leben was written by Dietrich’s daughter, Charitas Bischoff, decades after her death. It is an unreliable source that was largely accepted as historical truth for most of the 20th century. In the 1980s researcher Dr Ray Sumner found sections of it to be widely plagiarised from the writings of other explorers and natural history collectors working in Australia.
In this work Dietrich’s highly contested biography is reconfigured as a colonial wallpaper design created from a 1m2 contact negative as a repeating tile. The words of the daughter, on the paper surface, are fused with the scientific work of the mother, in the paper surface, by the cyanotype process. Both women’s problematic legacies in literature and science are re-examined, dismantled and rebound into a new form.