Body Remembers

Tracey Moffatt''s series Body Remembers 2017.

By Jed Lanyon

One of Australia’s most renowned contemporary artists Tracey Moffatt brings her Body Remembers project to the TarraWarra Museum of Art.

Opening on 23 March 2019, the first Victorian showing of Ms Moffatt’s photographic series Body Remembers 2017 and video work Vigil 2017 from her widely-acclaimed 57th Venice Biennale exhibition.

Through a series of ten ochre-hued photographs, Body Remembers recalls a history that is at once personal and universal, alluding to Ms Moffatt’s own matrilineal history of domestic servitude and the broader experience of colonisation.

The highly evocative photographs depict a 1950s maid, played by the artist herself, who is stranded on an isolated colonial property.

Set in a deserted, dreamlike landscape, the photographs evoke a vexed emotional terrain, one that is imbued with both yearning and mourning, longing and sorrow.

As Ms Moffatt described, ‘the images play with time back and forth: the maid remembers the past, or projects herself into the future, where the house she works in has become a ruin.’

Screening in the same space is Vigil 2017, a two-minute film montage that juxtaposes footage from the 2010 Christmas Island asylum seeker boat capsizing disaster with images drawn from Hollywood films.

The work creates a sense of absurdity, suspense and chaos.

TarraWarra Museum of Art Director, Victoria Lynn, said, ‘A renowned photographer and filmmaker, Tracey Moffatt’s work is distinguished by its exploration of Australia’s colonial past through implied and unsettling narratives.

The photographs’ allusions to the ongoing legacy of colonisation and the video’s dramatic montage of footage which highlights the consequences of our attitudes towards refugees, together reverberate powerfully with broader concerns about identity and place.’

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