Tracey Moffatt: Laudanum

26 May - 19 June 1999
Victoria Miro Cork Street

Information

16 Wharf Road, London N1 7RW

A series of nineteen photogravures, which have been individually aged, scratched and hand-tinted, Laudanum has been more than a year in the making and has the appearance almost of fine graphite drawings. Once again, Moffatt's roots as an experimental film maker are evident with references to the work of Murnau, Lang and Griffith while the combined images have a filmic narrative quality articulating a clear dialogue between photography and cinema. Her process is also close to film in that the work is first scripted and then made into a storyboard with Moffatt typically using locations, props, actors and actresses, to direct a 'shoot' in much the same way as a film, in order to realise her vision and produce serial imagery to her exact specifications.

Laudanum has a Victorian feel and is staged in an old colonial mansion, while the two protagonists - a white Anglo Saxon mistress figure with her young Asian servant girl and the psychosexual tensions which develop between them have qualities which are emblematic of issues dealing with colonialism, control, power and domination. As with her previous work Up in the Sky, the non-linear narrative allows an open reading of the work referencing not only film but also art historical and literary sources such as Réage's The Story of O .

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