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Kaleidoscope at PICA

– by Alfindy Agyputri

Every time I hear the word “kaleidoscope”, my brain would automatically relate it to stars for no specific reason. Maybe because I take it as some sort of telescope to see the stars. Partly true, because kaleidoscope is a bit like a telescope. Aside from their names that both end with similar word “scope”, kaleidoscope is also a cylinder with mirrors you can look through. But instead of stars, when you look into one end, you’ll see colourful patterns created by the reflection off the mirrors of the light that enters the other end.

That’s probably why artworks under this theme are mostly colourful, like in Tracey Moffatt’s Kaleidoscope exhibition. Apart from that, a different approach would be the meaning of the word. ‘Kaleidoscope’ is derived from the Ancient Greek meaning ‘to examine beauty’ or ‘the observation of beautiful forms’, so using this theme, each body of work in Moffatt’s Kaleidoscope explores and observes different places and memories of her past.

Before her first major solo exhibition in Western Australia, Moffatt has shown in over 100 exhibitions worldwide. Moffatt studied film and television in Queensland College of Art and is known well for her films and photographic series. She is recognised for her iconic and gritty photographic portraits of Australia.

In Kaleidoscope, Moffatt presents Spirit Landscapes, a photographic series that comprises five diverse series of portraits. Suburban Landscapes maps the streets of Moffatt’s youth in Brisbane with stencilled colourful texts on top of the black-and-white photographs, giving details about each memory of the image. It’s a brilliant way to frame a regular image with your own memories of it, giving a different perspective to it.

And there is Picturesque Cherbourg, a colourful collage of photographs from Cherbourg, where the notorious Aboriginal mission and settlement that forced some of Moffatt’s family to relocate from their lands. It looks beautiful in bright colours, and the fractures and segments of the collage make the photographs look unusually different and easily catch the viewer’s attention, giving impression of something’s broken has been put together again.

Night Spirits picture night-time road trip Moffatt took to revisit locations from her past which appear as hidden places that are blurred and difficult to see in the dark. The reflection of the street lights in the dark create dim but colourful visual effects that picture the night time beautifully. Each and every photograph in the series has different colours and feels to it, and the stories and memories behind them give different angle to see.

OPENING TIMES: 19 February – 15 April 2015 (Tuesday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
LOCATION: Perth Cultural Centre, 51 James Street, Northbridge, Perth
ADMISSION: FREE

Photo credit: PICA IMAGE GALLERIES by Alessandro Bianchetti

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