Tracey Moffatt reveals Hell ahead of 2017 Venice Biennale

Tracey Moffatt, Hell from the series, Passage 2017, type C photograph on gloss paper 105.5 × 156 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney and Tyler Rollins Fine Art, New YorkWith just over four weeks until the official launch of the 57th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, the Australia Council for the Arts has revealed the photograph, Hell – one of the extraordinary works that will feature in Tracey Moffatt’s exhibition MY HORIZON at the Australian Pavilion in Venice.

MY HORIZON is capacious, open, expansive and personal – an exhibition that references film, art and the epic history of photography, as well as aspects of her family history,” says Curator Natalie King.

This exhibition of entirely new work will be officially launched in the second week of May 2017 in Venice. It features two major large-scale photographic series and two video works. The exhibition explores journeys – both legal and illegal – and alludes to issues of race and gender, sexuality, desire, identity, and human connection and estrangement.

Revealed at the Artist’s Sydney studio, Hell is one of 12 large scale photographs from the series, Passage – which is set in a mysterious dockland. A mother, a motorcycle police officer and a sharply dressed character whom the artist calls ‘the middleman’ enact a drama that is, as Moffatt says, as “old as time itself. People throughout history and across cultures have always escaped across borders to seek new lives.”

On MY HORIZON, Moffatt said: “I have taken my camera into unknown locations and created photo-dramas, using models, actors and people I find on the street. My stories meld fiction, fact and some aspects of my family history but I have wanted to extend my filmic narratives into imaginary realms. The horizon line encapsulated in the title MY HORIZON can represent a yearning for escape to another place.”

Through photography and film, Tracey Moffatt creates highly stylised narratives and montage. She first received critical acclaim with the short film Night Cries which was selected for official competition at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival. Her first feature film, bedevil, was also selected for Cannes in 1993, and in 1997 she was invited to exhibit in the Aperto section of the Venice Biennale. An exhibition at the Dia Centre for the Arts in New York followed, consolidating her international reputation.

Since then Moffatt has exhibited extensively in museums and galleries across the globe, with more than 100 international exhibitions including a highly prestigious 2012 solo show at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Established in 1895, the Venice Biennale is the world’s oldest and most prestigious biennale of international contemporary art. Unique for its dual exhibition model, the Venice Biennale comprises of a curated show and individual exhibitions of ‘national participations’. It is an important platform for countries to affirm their nation’s artistic and cultural identity.

The 57th Venice Biennale runs 13 May to 26 November 2017. For more information, visit: www.australiacouncil.gov.au for details.

Image: Tracey Moffatt, Hell from the series, Passage 2017, type C photograph on gloss paper 105.5 × 156 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney and Tyler Rollins Fine Art, New York

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