An image of Something more 1

Tracey Moffatt

(Australia, United States of America 12 Nov 1960 – )

Community
Brisbane, North-east region, New York, NO REGION SPECIFIED

Something more 1, from the series Something more

Other titles:
Untitled (woman in shed)
Location
Not on display
Further information

Tracey Moffatt is probably Australia's most successful artist ever, both nationally and internationally. She is certainly one of the few Australian artists to have established a global market for her work. A filmmaker as well as photographer, Moffatt has held around 100 solo exhibitions of her work in Europe, the United States and Australia. Her films, including 'Nightcries – A rural tragedy', 1990, and 'Bedevil', 1993, have been screened at the Cannes Film Festival, the Dia Centre for the Arts in New York and the National Centre for Photography in Paris.

Over the last 25 years Moffatt has produced a cohesive body of work, from her celebrated 1989 series 'Something more' to the more recent 'Fourth', 2001. Each series devolves upon an unwritten narrative – a story is implied, but never stated. Part of the artist's project is to dismantle the conventions of storytelling, paradoxically by using artifice alone to tell her tales. At the same time, the power of her work derives from the persuasions of myth. Moffatt's subjects touch on deep-seated, implacable issues, on the wounds that never heal – hence the title of her tragicomic series, 'Scarred for life', 1994. Based on true stories told to the artist, this series captures both the pain and the restless energy at the heart of suburban life. Possibly Moffatt's best work to date, its potency is due to the fact that, as the artist has explained, everyone has a tragic tale to tell'.

Like the work of Destiny Deacon, Moffatt's art is sharpened with pain and humour. In works such as 'Something more' and, most explicitly, 'Laudanum', 1999, she engages the rhetorical confusions of racism through the sadomasochistic dynamic of the colonised subject. Indeed, her avowed ambivalence about being categorised as an indigenous artist is at odds with her commitment to the fostering of Aboriginal culture, and to the central place of Indigeneity in her work. This seeming contradiction – an apparent moral inconsistency – is resolved in her dedication to the accoutrements of success: as much as Moffatt's work is about pain, it is also about glamour.

Moffatt's vision is essentially theatrical, and one might argue that being an artstar - with all its attendant posturing is as much a part of her practice as the art itself.

Hannah Fink in 'Tradition today: Indigenous art in Australia', Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2004

© Art Gallery of New South Wales

Year
1989
Media
Photograph
Medium
Cibachrome photograph
Dimensions
103.0 x 133.0 cm sight; 109.0 x 139.0 cm frame
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Credit
Hallmark Cards Australian Photography Collection Fund 1989. Commissioned by the Albury Regional Arts Centre with assistance from the Visual/Craft Board of the Australia Council, the NSW Ministry for the Arts, and the Regional Galleries Association of NSW Exhibitions Development Fund.
Accession number
334.1989
Copyright
© Tracey Moffatt