Tracey Moffatt: Laudanum and other works

The Art Gallery of New South Wales presents a collection from one of Australia’s most iconic artists.

By Benjamen Judd   

Tracey Moffatt is one of the most influential female, Indigenous and photographic artists in Australia today and her subversive imagery regularly challenges the difference between viewer and voyeur. 

In January, 2016, Moffatt was reward for her groundbreaking contributions to the art world by being made an Officer of the Order of Australia.  

Moffatt was recognised “for distinguished service to the visual and performing arts as a photographer and film maker, and as a mentor and supporter of, and role model for, Indigenous artists”.  

Showing at the Art Gallery of New South Wales until September 4, Moffatt’s photographic series Laudanum (1998) and Plantation (2009) are linked by their use of old colonial homes as their setting as she explores the nature of fears and desire. 



In 1999, Moffatt stated about Laudanum that “we get to peek in, a private drama is enacted.” 

Viewers are invited to look through keyholes, bars and doorways – inviting the viewer to become voyeur and complicit in the disturbing relationship that seems to exist between mistress and servant. 

In Plantation, the past becomes the present as Moffatt reinvents the old, hand-coloured photography. The method, as much as the subject, is the focus in Plantation. Images are cracked, wrinkled and given a texture that modern digital photography has all but wiped out. 

Playing during the exhibition will be two montage videos made by Moffatt (with Gary Hillberg) – Love 2003 and Other 2009 are two sides of the same coin. Love traces the evolution of romantic love to brutality in the name of love; Other narrates the explosive attraction between races, sexes and genders. 

Laudanum (1998) and Plantation (2009) is now showing until September 4. 

Art Gallery of New South Wales

Art Gallery Rd, The Domain

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