The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Friday, July 25, 2014


Major new multi-media installation by Richard Mosse opens at Foam in Amsterdam
Safe from harm, 2012 © Richard Mosse / Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
AMSTERDAM.- Foam presents The Enclave by Richard Mosse, a major new multi-media installation which represented Ireland at the 55th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia. The installation consists of six large screens which represent the conflict situation in Congo, shot with infrared film that was designed for camouflage detection resulting in vibrant, psychedelic magenta coloured sites of the jungle war zone. Besides the film installation, related photo works are presented.

Throughout 2012, Richard Mosse and his collaborators Trevor Tweeten and Ben Frost travelled 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. It is 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.

A long-standing power vacuum in eastern Congo has resulted in a horrifying cycle of violence, a Hobbesian 'state of war', so brutal and complex that it resists communication, and goes unseen in the global consciousness. Mosse brings a discontinued military surveillance film to this situation, representing an intangible conflict with a medium that registers an invisible spectrum of infrared light, and was originally designed for camouflage detection. The resulting imagery, shot on 16mm infrared film by cinematographer Trevor Tweeten, renders the jungle war zone in a disorienting psychedelic palette. Ben Frost's ambient audio composition, comprised entirely of recordings gathered in the field in eastern DRC, hovers bleakly over the unfolding tragedy.

The Enclave immerses the viewer in a challenging and sinister world, exploring aesthetics in a situation of profound human suffering. At the heart of the project, as Mosse states, is an attempt 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."



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