Tracey Moffatt – 'Something More #1'

Tracey Moffatt is one of Australia's most successful international artists, known for her film, photography and video works. Drawing on cinema, television and the media, her art is as likely to be inspired by popular culture and recollections of images from her childhood and adolescence as it is by art history.

Moffatt first came to prominence in the Australian art world with her series Something More. Commissioned in 1989 by the Albury Regional Art Gallery and shot at Link Studios in Wodonga, the series set the tone and themes for much of Moffatt's later work. This sequence of nine images is a loose narrative, shot like film stills, in which the artist references the possible meanings of the title and its hint of sadomasochism.

In the first image of the series, 'Something More #1', Moffatt stands in the centre of the frame wearing an Asian-style dress. Behind her is a hut. A woman wearing a negligee leans against the door of the hut, smoking a cigarette; inside, a man sits at a table drinking beer from a bottle. Two children look on, and a boy wearing a coolie hat is seen in the background. The backdrop is an obvious artifice. Moffatt's image seeks to confuse and disturb meanings of cultural identification while questioning the authenticity of the presentation by reinforcing its own 'fake' construction.

As the series develops and the protagonist strives for 'something more', it all ends tragically after an encounter with a whip-wielding biker with ruby-red fingernails. The inevitability of the woman's circumstances, and the juxtaposition of luscious Cibachrome with monochromatic silver gelatin, are reminiscent of the 1950s Australian film Jedda.