Photographer and filmmaker Tracy Moffatt has been chosen as Australia’s sole representative at the Australian Pavilion (pictured above) at the 2017 Venice Biennale in an exhibition to be curated by Natalie King.
The announcement was made this morning by art collector and retailer Naomi Milgrom who was appointed Australia’s Venice Biennale commissioner in September to oversee the choice of artist.
Moffatt, 55, made her name in the late ’80s with her lush photography that played with black stereotypes and which later saw her short films shown at Cannes in the early ’90s.
In a statement from the Australia Council (which oversees and pays for Australia’s representation in Venice) her work was described as looking at: “Themes such as struggles between individuals, childhood cruelties in suburban life, the toughness of life on the ‘frontier’, the subversion of stereotypes and relations between black and white Australians are apparent in her works. Referencing the artist’ss own life and experiences, Moffatt’s work deals with the human condition in all its complexities”.
It continued: “Since her first solo exhibition at the Australian Centre for Photography in Sydney in 1989, she has exhibited extensively in museums all over the world. She first gained significant critical acclaim when her short film Night Cries was selected for official competition at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival. Her first feature film, beDevil, was also selected for Cannes in 1993. In 1997, she was invited to exhibit in the Aperto section of the Venice Biennale. A major exhibition of Moffatt’s work was later held at the DIA Center for the Arts in New York in 1997/98 which consolidated her international reputation.
Curator Natalie King is a chief curator of Biennial Lab at the City of Melbourne; senior research fellow, Victorian College of the Arts, The University of Melbourne, and creative associate of the Naomi Milgrom Foundation’s MPavilion.
The selection of Australia’s Venice representative — arguably the highest honour bestowed on an Australian artist — always creates argument, debate and often controversy in Australia’s small arts community.