Tracey Moffatt: Body Remembers is the first Victorian showing of 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 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—a kind of nowhere place—the photographs evoke a vexed emotional terrain, one that is imbued with both yearning and mourning, longing and sorrow.
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 which feature characters with expressions of alarm, horror and mournfulness.
Drawn from the collection of Neil Balnaves AO, both works were first shown at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017 as part of My Horizon curated by Natalie King and commissioned by Naomi Milgrom AO for the Australia Council for the Arts.
To accompany the exhibition, a selection of works from the Museum’s collection will be presented in a display titled Thought Patterns: Selected Works from the Collection, featuring paintings and drawings from the Museum’s significant holdings of Australian art including works by Russell Drysdale, Rosalie Gascoigne, Aida Tomescu, William Delafield Cook, Louise Hearman, Charles Blackman and others.