Incandescent Moment

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Incandescent Moment

Fiona Clark's Go Girl

Peter Wells

Originally published in Art New Zealand 106 Autumn 2003

“Mayor shocked by dancing pictures”. 8 O'clock, 14 June 1975

Fiona Clark   Jackie at Mojos, Auckland 1975   Colour photograph

Fiona Clark Jackie at Mojos, Auckland 1975
Colour photograph

It was in 1975 that Fiona Clark faced a censorship crisis. Her photographs, touring with The Active Eye exhibition, were on one level relatively innocuous. At first glance. They were two black-and-white images (250mm x 180mm) of what we would now call a dance party. It was when you took a closer look, the disquieting sense of things not being quite 'right' emerged. The women were in fact transgendered. But it wasn't even this. These were transgendered people having fun. It got worse.

Scribbled, in what now seems an old-fashioned inky ballpoint pen, were proclamations. These proclamations amounted to an assault: we are real people, & can fuck everything and everyone, enjoying life & having a ball. Aren't you furious, you hung up closet queens. That demotic wild ballpoint, driven by adrenalin and speed just kept on moving. It attacked the people within the photographs, one of them being the ugliest double-chinned mole in the trade. And then the pen just went wild. How many of you boys? would like to either suck these tits or have them for you're very own. I bet you all would. Strong meat for nervous art curators, anxious mayors.

Read the full article on the Art New Zealand website