Richard Mosse: The Enclave
Text by Jason Stearns, Anna O'Sullivan.
For the last three years, Richard Mosse (born 1980) has photographed in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a region in which a long-standing power vacuum has resulted in a horrifying cycle of violence. The Enclave is the culmination of Mosse’s recent efforts to radically rethink traditional representations of conflict photography, drawing on artistic and documentary strategies in equal measure. Shooting with both still and 16 mm cameras, he uses a discontinued military surveillance film, which registers an invisible spectrum of infrared light. Mosse has captured the landscape in disorienting psychedelic hues of scarlet, lavender, cobalt and puce, creating images that are deceptively seductive and alluring. Ultimately, however, the resulting images and film map the otherwise invisible edges of violence, chaos and incommunicable horror of isolated, jungle war zones. At the heart of the project, as Mosse states, is his exploration of the contradictions and limits of art’s ability “to represent narratives so painful that they exist beyond language--and photography’s capacity to document specific tragedies and communicate them to the world.” The Enclave has been printed in a total of 1,000 copies, 250 of which have been released as part of a limited-edition boxed set. The boxed set includes a 45 rpm record with sound and music design by Ben Frost; a poster featuring an image by Richard Mosse (depicted at left) and a transcription from the film; and a signed and numbered copy of the book, released to coincide with an installation of the work at the Venice Biennale.
PRAISE AND REVIEWS
THE ENCLAVE seeks to heighten the visibility of this conflicted area while contextualizing human suffering in a problematically beautiful visual sphere.
Richard Mosse’s three years of photography work in the Congo using discontinued infrared film is haunting, surreal and beautiful.
The New Republic
The resulting photographs...constitute a series that rethinks the tension between a photograph's violent or disturbing content and its aesthetic virtue.
Following up on last year's volume, Infra, Mosse's expose on the Democratic Republic of Congo depicts both war scenes and natural grandeur in rose-colored infrared images. Though the hues are surreal, the realities are sobering indeed.