Following studies in cinematography and experience in documentary production, Tracey Moffatt evinced a strong interest in a reinterpretation of the evocative power of images: not natural or candid images, but those constructed in relation to precise historical models.
Her work is characterized by an original approach to narrative cinema conventions. Alongside a rich photographic production staged in a refined way, there are film and video works. Moffatt’s oeuvre is distinctive thanks to a complex intermingling of subjective memories and elements drawn from the specific social, geographical, and cultural context of Australia. This sensitivity is always filtered by an awareness and knowledge of the world, and the history of cinema and photography, starting with the nineteenth century.
Unconcerned with the traditional distinctions among photoreportage, documentary, and theatrical staging, Moffatt has elaborated an investigation that attempts to recompose fragmentary sensations and sentiments into a vaster and more extensive dream. At the base of her multiform artistic experience there are composite cultural elements ranging from religious or mythological allegories to the sense of the unexpected, provided by the encounter of contemporary and indigenous cultures.
After her debut in the second-half of the eighties, she arrived at professional cinema production in 1993 with Bedevil. This film, created with a sequence of episodes, shot with 35 mm and a considerably large cast, allowed her to fully express her vision. [F.B.]
List of Works
video, color, sound, 28 min.
Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, Rivoli-Turin
Working from a series of shots taken by the artist near beaches, the video presents a number of brief interviews with surfers after a day at the beach. The general tone of the video—documentary-like in its immediacy of images and recorded sounds—is one of a sophisticated, ironic, and provocative “laying bare,” almost coaxed out of these athletes. The relationship between the sexes and their respective roles, the implicit voyeurism, and the subtle border between secret admiration and intrusiveness are the distinguishing characteristics of this work.