In an Australian-first, the Art Gallery of South Australia presents a display of Tracey Moffatt’s photographic series, Body Remembers and video work, Vigil – from her critically acclaimed 57th Venice Biennale exhibition, My Horizon.
Body Remembers continues the artist’s poetic investigation of self and identity. The series of ten sepia toned black and white photographs revisit Moffatt’s earlier works, whereby the artist herself is cast as protagonist. Set in an arid landscape, Moffatt presents a sense of ‘nowhere space and time’ and recalls her personal and matrilineal history of domestic servitude.
Moffatt describes the series as ‘a play with time, backwards and forwards of the past and present’. In this statement she hints at the pervasive legacy of colonisation and its reverberations across time and place.
Screened nearby, Vigil – a two-minute video, inspired by the profound shock the artist felt at seeing television news coverage of the December 2010 drowning of dozens of asylum seekers, whose boat ran aground in rough seas off the coast of Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. Moffatt has used montage to develop a sense of suspense, absurdity and chaos.
Set to a foreboding soundtrack, Vigil juxtaposes two radically different kinds of imagery: news footage of dilapidated boats that overflow with dark-skinned refugees, and movie close-ups of white Hollywood actors – Elizabeth Taylor, Kathleen Turner, Julie Christie, Donald Sutherland – who are shown staring through windows. Moffatt has intensified the blood-like hue of the sea, accentuating the sense of carnage.
Tracey Moffatt is widely recognised and celebrated for her distinct aesthetic across photography and film, her enduring interrogation of Australia’s colonial history, and her approach in dismantling conventions of storytelling. She is considered one of Australia’s most successful artists both nationally and internationally.
Tracey Moffatt: Body Remembers
Art Gallery of South Australia, North Terrace, Adelaide
Exhibition continues to 30 September 2018
For more information, visit: www.artgallery.sa.gov.au for details.
Image: Tracey Moffatt, Australia, born 1960, Spanish Window, from the series Body Remembers, 2017, (detail) Sydney, digital pigment print on paper, 162.0 x 244.0 cm (image); Collection of Neil Balnaves AO, Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery