Richard Mosse’s photography captures the beauty and tragedy in war and destruction. Mosse has shot abandoned plane wrecks in the furthest reaches of the planet and the former palaces of Uday and Saddam Hussein and now occupied by US military forces. His most recent series, Infra captures the ongoing war between rebel factions and the Congolese national army in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Infra series is marked by Mosse’s use of Kodak Aerochrome, a discontinued reconnaissance infrared film. The film registers chlorophyll in live vegetation. The result is the lush Congolese rainforest rendered into a beautifully surreal landscape of pinks and reds. Mosse said in an interview with The British Journal of Photography "I wanted to export this technology to a harder situation, to up-end the generic conventions of calcified mass-media narratives and challenge the way we're allowed to represent this forgotten conflict… I wanted to confront this military reconnaissance technology, to use it reflexively in order to question the ways in which war photography is constructed."
Mosse is the winner of the 2014 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize. In 2013, Mosse represented Ireland in the Venice Biennale with the Enclave an immersive six-channel video installation that utilized 16mm infrared film. The piece is an attempt, as Mosse explains on CNN.com, to bring “two counter-worlds into collision: art’s potential to represent narratives so painful that they exist beyond language, and photography’s capacity to document specific tragedies and communicate them to the world.”
Mosse was born in 1980 in Ireland and is based in New York. He earned an MFA in Photography from Yale School of Art in 2008 and a Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art from Goldsmiths, London in 2005. Mosse has exhibited work at the Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, the Bass Museum of Art, Miami, the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, the Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, the Dublin Contemporary Biennial and the Tate Modern, London.
Mosse's work is part of many public collections including the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, the Martin Margulies Collection, Miami, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Nelson Atkins Museum, Kansas City, the Weatherspoon Museum of Art, Greensboro, and the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh.
Mosse’s first monograph, Infra, was published by Aperture Foundation and Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting in (2011). His most recent monograph, The Enclave, was also published by Aperture Foundation in (2013) to accompany his presentation at the Venice Biennale.
Jack Shainman Gallery has represented Richard Mosse since 2008. He had his first solo exhibition, Airside, that same year. Subsequent solo exhibitions include The Fall (2009), Infra (2011) and The Enclave (2014).
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The installation, consisting of six large screens, represents the conflict situation in Congo and was shot with infrared film that was designed for camouflage detection resulting in vibrant, psychedelic magenta-colored views of the jungle war zone. In addition to the film installation, related photographs are also on view.
Throughout 2012, Richard Mosse and his collaborators Trevor Tweeten and Ben Frost traveled in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, infiltrating armed rebel groups in a war zone plagued by frequent ambushes, massacres and systematic sexual violence. The resulting installation, The Enclave, is the culmination of Mosse's attempt to rethink war photography.
The Enclave represented Ireland at the 55th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia.