16 Wharf Road (map)
Comic-strip-style panels combining photos with painted scenes. A small cast of characters enacting emotionally over-the-top, clichéd, melodramatic, daytime TV fantasies.
This review by Katherine Bovee on PORT presents some parallels to my experience of Tracey Moffatt’s work:
At Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Naomi Fisher’s savage women frolicked amidst lush green flora, apparently situated in somebody’s extended fantasy involving tropical islands and hot girls. Her photographs look like high-end fashion shoots that are trying to look like an updated version of campy Italian films. Her drawings feature luridly colored portraits of females with vacuous, blood-red eyes. Fisher plays out taboo fantasies to a highly choreographed end – the hyper-sexed woman, the hysteric woman, the savage woman, the mother-nature-goddess woman.
However Naomi Fisher’s pictures seem to avoid humour, presenting a world where nature is physically encroaching on the human body and mind, threatening eons of mental evolution, stripping the layers of society to reveal a base nature within.
Whereas in Moffatt’s world the bodies are narcissistically pumped and painted, the surrounding objects and vistas treated as cartoons. The mood is light, bright, with a celluloid flatness forced to accommodate the limited depths and moods of the actors.
2-screen projection, on opposite sides of a room, alternately playing short, related pieces. On one side is silent footage of large groups of people swimming in the sea, the other an audio track of the sound of people in the sea and lifeguards shouted instructions. The lifeguards statements are not in English and are translated on the screen.
The video, for all it’s teaming human life, seems almost calm without its sound. The groups of people swimming and being taught to swim, floating, being buffeted by waves. The audio sounds like there’s a war going on. It’s harsh, with the urgent demands and entreaties of the lifeguards mixed in with the splashings of the swimmers and airplanes passing overhead.
The movement from one side to the other forces the audience to physically turn whenever the piece flips from video to audio. I came in when the film side was playing and didn’t realise there was anything happening behind me at first, I was presented with the harsh shouts in a foreign language leaving me unaware of their meaning until I noticed that there was some faint light coming from behind me, at which point I realised the dual nature of the piece.
Separating the audio and video seems to be designed to emphasize the different states created by each. In a sense they seem to contradict each other, the video says enjoyment, the audio danger, although it’s also presenting them as two aspects of the same place and time – different senses give us conflicting messages if only we could separate them out and analyze them.