“Every piece I have ever made, be it film or photograph, is in some way autobiographical. Each work depicts a mood or current obsession”
Being under the sign of Scorpio (2005)
“….at this stage I have told very few of the Scorpio women that I have included them in this photo series (I have met about eight of them). The last thing one should do is flatter a Scorpio; they immediately get suspicious, and depending on their mood, will hate your guts for it. It has taken me years to learn to graciously accept a compliment. Growing up in the rough-and-tumble Australian suburbs, I was often mocked for my escapes into fantasy.”
I read this with intrigue. I am also interested in Astrology and studied the subject many years ago. Moffatt, also a Scorpio, based herself in a simple studio at home and “dressed up” as other famous Scorpios. She makes it obvious that she is acting and her performance is intentionally very amateur. She says “In my portraits I have tried to capture their spirit and likeness, but only at a moment’s glance”. She used informal poses and created a comic book quality by adding high-key supernatural coloured landscape backgrounds to the images in Photoshop. She chooses to represent her portraits as “pop figures” – she admired Andy Warhol – but with an air of the unexplained.
I particularly like the contact sheet presentations where the viewer is able to follow the progress of the “performance” before Moffatt selects a pose to use. The added colourful backgrounds of her images really do portray an astral feel.
In this series Moffat does not reveal anything of herself to the viewer. So for me the title Masquerades is relevant – masked to hide the true identity. These are self-portraits that can be used to examine cultural differences, identity, fantasy and the many ways in which a person can be (or wants to be) represented.
Tracey Moffatt http://www.roslynoxley9.com.au/news/releases/2005/07/10/94/ [accessed 14th sept 2016]