Jiffy Map, 2008

Graphic material, 65 x 81 cm

With a minimalist language and a certain ever-present lyricism and irony, Rita McBride alludes to the possibility of remaking objects and images. McBride takes ordinary everyday objects or architectural elements that usually go unnoticed and changes their dimensions. By altering the usual scale or reducing the objects to the two-dimensionality of paper, she transforms functional elements into an abstraction that is similar to painting or design. In Jiffy Map, the artist uses a map of the United States of America in a simple and effective intervention. She changes the scale of a template used by school students to trace maps, but reconfigures the physical geography.

The title refers to the fact that she uses the well-known commercial brand of Jiffy paper. Jiffy Map conjures up a commonplace object from our past that we no longer use but which still remains ideologically charged in our imaginary. The result is a map that no longer matches any geographic reality, but that we nonetheless recognise as a fully incorporated structure. A culturally learnt form or “gestalt” that American imperialism has imposed as a universal icon. With a clear aspect of political critique that is common to many of her works, McBride questions the role of an entire culture by simply shifting the elements on a map. As in her sculptural installations, the artist raises a series of questions to do with social cohesion and the supposed civility of the contemporary world.

Jiffy Map is one of a series of works produced in 2008, in which McBride plays with the scale of images of school material such as rulers, protractors and other geometric drawing instruments. Objects from her schooldays that allow her to explore the language of the tools we live with and the way we appropriate them.

Technical details

Original title:
Jiffy Map
Registration number:
McBride, Rita
Date created:
Date acquired:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
Object type:
Graphic material
Printed ink on paper
65 x 81 cm (height x width)
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
© Rita McBride, VEGAP, Barcelona
It has accessibility resources:

The MACBA Collection features Catalan, Spanish and international art and, although it includes works from the 1920s onwards, its primary focus is on the period between the 1960s and the present.

For more information on the work or the artist, please consult MACBA's Library. To request a loan of the work, please write to colleccio [at] macba.cat.

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FONS AUDIO #9. Rita McBride