(Australia, United States of America 12 Nov 1960 – )
57.0 x 78.0 cm image
Internationally acclaimed Australian artist Tracey Moffatt has exhibited her work extensively since the 1980s. Her films have been screened in the official competition at the Cannes Film Festival and her photographs have featured in numerous major exhibitions. Over the course of her career, she has pursued many different thematic concerns such as Aboriginal heritage, Australian art, female identity, and colonial history. Her 2013 body of work, ‘Spirit Landscapes’, explores the spiritual resonance of place and its relationship to memory.
The six photographs in the ‘Picturesque Cherbourg’ series each depict a site from the Aboriginal government mission that some of Moffatt’s family members were moved to in the 1920s (with many continuing to reside there). The scenes reproduce the vibrant tones of a tourist pamphlet or a real estate brochure. Yet what at first glance appear to be cheerful images of a peaceful suburban landscape hint at the trauma that is concealed behind the white picket fences. Each photograph has been ripped apart and put back together. These works are collages of a single image broken up into fragments. None of the edges of the image shards are perfectly aligned, exposing the rupture of each tear. The fractured images reveal the violence embedded in this place (Cherbourg) and allow personal narratives of suffering to subtly assert themselves.