Richard Mosse at the 55th Venice Biennale
Richard Mosse is a contemporary artist and photographer who’s been getting lately lots of attention for his photo book on the conflict in eastern Congo called Infra. Using Kodak Aerochrome film, an infrared film created by US military for surveillance during WWII, which Mosse used to photograph the landscape and those involved in the conflict in Congo. This special technology delivers spectacular blocks of color pink and red that are real and invisible to the eye. The hallucinogenic effect, quoting Art Critic Aidan Dunne, is to “undo the camouflage of the familiar by familiarizing our perceptions of African conflict, throwing us into a surreal world that in some respects recalls Francis Ford Coppola’s film Apocalypse Now”. Surreal as Congo war is, as every war is. Mosse‘s intention to mix these beautiful and colorful images with the horrendous meaning of war behind them, was a way to reflect about the relationship between art, fiction and photojournalism in the midst of a war.
Richard Mosse was selected to represent the Irish Pavilion at this year’s 55th Venice Biennale, so he and his collaborators Trevor Tweeten and Ben Frost traveled to 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 an ambitious eight-channel multimedia installation, as a search for more adequate strategies to represent a forgotten African tragedy in which, according to the International Rescue Committee, at least 5.4 million people have died of war-related causes in eastern Congo since 1998. Richard Mosse did not want to document the horrors of the Congolese conflict as such, but rather show his awareness and even his impotence in the face of them.
I had lived in Africa so I am deeply touch by his work. I’m curious about your thoughts of it.
source by Frieze
16mm infrared film transferred to HD video
39 minutes 25 seconds across six screens
Director / Producer: Richard Mosse
Cinematographer / Editor: Trevor Tweeten
Composer / Sound Designer: Ben Frost
Production Assistant: John Holten
Colourist: Jerome Thelia
16mm processing: Rocky Mountain Film Lab
16mm scanning: Metropolis Film Labs
Audio Visual Installation: Eidotech