Dec 18 2015

Tracey Moffatt To Represent Australia at 57th Venice Biennale

by Toivo Kai Yan Siu

TRACEY MOFFATT, Self Portrait, 1999, handcolored photograph, 33.5 × 22 cm. Courtesy the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney.

Tracey Moffatt will be representing Australia at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017, making her the first Australian indigenous artist to present a solo exhibition at the prestigious event. The announcement was made by the Australia Council for the Arts on December 15. Curated by the Melbourne-based curator Natalie King, Moffatt’s exhibition will be shown at the recently-opened Denton-Corker-Marshall Australian Pavilion in the Giardini.

“With a career spanning over 25 years, Tracey is one of Australia’s celebrated and differentiated contemporary artists, invigorating the art scene both locally and internationally,” Venice Biennale 2017 Commissioner and Chair of the Selection Advisory Panel Naomi Milgrom AO said.

Born in suburban Brisbane in 1960, Moffatt received her BA in visual communications from the Queensland College of Art in 1982. After graduating, Moffatt moved to Sydney to pursue her career as an artist, later dividing her time between Sydney and New York.

Referencing contemporary Australian life, the filmmaker, photographer and video artist examines the human condition in all its complexities. Moffatt demonstrates a deep concern with power relations in her work, investigating issues such as Aboriginal subjugation, maternal domination, gender stereotypes and class division. In her short film Night Cries: A Rural Tragedy (1989), which was selected for official competition at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival, she engages with both national and personal history through the complex relationship between an aboriginal woman and her dying white foster mother. Moffatt’s series of tone gravure prints, Laudanum (1999), shows the relationship between a woman and her aboriginal servant. The kinds of images Moffatt constructs are confronting, thought-provoking reflections on the way we interact with the world.

Since Moffatt’s first solo exhibition at the Australian Centre for Photography in Sydney in 1989, she has held more than 100 solo exhibitions in Europe, the United States and Australia, including the major survey “Free Falling” at the DIA Center for the Arts, New York (1997–98), and self-titled exhibitions at both the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2003–04), and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal (2005).

In 2007, Moffatt was awarded the Infinity Award for art by the International Center for Photography in New York. Inifinity Awards are given for outstanding achievements in photography by honoring individuals with distinguished careers in the field and by identifying future luminaries.

Moffatt currently lives and works in New York.