© PRINTEMPS DE SEPTEMBRE
PHOTO: DAMIEN ASPE
Throughout her work, Australian photographer and filmmaker of Aboriginal roots Tracey Moffatt addresses colonialism and the confrontation of the coloniser's and the colonised's different viewpoints. For Vigil she alternately screens re-painted images of shipwrecked refugees and portraits of horrified Hollywood stars that condemn the extent to which human misery feeds the consumption of images in public media.
Vigil is inspired by the shock the artist felt at the television coverage of the drowning of tens of asylum-seekers whose boat ran aground in rough seas off the coast of Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean in December 2010. The video mixes news shots of damaged boats overflowing with darkskinned refugees and close-up cinema shots of white Hollywood actors – Elizabeth Taylor, Kathleen Turner, Julie Christie, Donald Sutherland – shown peering through windows. The black, indistinct bodies sink under their alarmed gazes that remain at a distance, safe western protagonists. Tracey Moffatt intensifies the bloody tint of the sea, accentuating the feeling of disaster.
Born to an Indigenous Australian mother and an Irish father, Tracey Moffatt was brought up by a white working class foster family. She is one of those artists who place their ethnic and social roots at the heart of their work: her first feature-length film is symptomatically called Nice Coloured Girls (1987). Her work articulates historical elements and personal archives that make up photographic series or films. Her photographic series Something More (1989) brought her international attention: the juxtaposition of black and white and colour clichés of natural and painted scenes, the fragmentary story of a female main character, the mix between fiction and reality immediately define the style of her work. In 2017 Tracey Moffatt represented the Australian pavilion during the 57th Venice Biennale with her exhibition My Horizon from which Vigil is taken. Born in 1960 in Brisbane (Australia), she lives and works in Sydney and New York
Exhibition realised in partnership with Théâtre Garonne | Scène européenne – Toulouse.