Canadian Art Close Up: “Tracey Moffatt” Spring, 2010
Virulent exchanges; verbal tango; exotic scenes with coconuts, leis, grass skirts and palm trees; a musical score of beating drums; sweaty, sultry, terrific bodies; burning desire for the black male fantasy or the white female blonde one; erections; and volcanic eruptions of both the lava and sexual varieties bring affairs to a climax in Other, Tracey Moffatt’s seventh and final video-montage collaboration with Gary Hillberg. With an encyclopedic knowledge of film and television, Moffatt has been working on these compositions since 1999. Light, arousing and entertaining, Moffatt’s latest video nevertheless raises serious questions about race relations, the stereotyping of exotic identities, interracial relationships both personal and public, how the other has been represented historically in the media and what kind of representation is appropriate today. The territory is rife with ambiguity, the spectre of censorship, problematic binaries and an ongoing debate that continues to remind us of the many shades of grey between pure black and white.