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 now occupied by US military forces. His Infra series captures the ongoing war between rebel factions and the Congolese national army in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
(born 1980, Kilkenny, Ireland) is an Irish conceptual documentary photographer. He is best known for his photographs of the war in the Eastern Congo using colour infrared film intended to create a new perspective on conflict.
Aperture has published two books of his work and he won the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize in 2014. Mosse is a nominee member of Magnum Photos.
Life and work
Mosse lives and works in New York and Berlin.
His received a BA in English literature from King’s College London in 2001, an MRes in cultural studies from the London Consortium in 2003, a postgraduate diploma in fine art from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2005 and a photography MFA from Yale School of Art in 2008.
He has worked in Iran, Pakistan, Haiti and the former Yugoslavia. He is best known for his infrared images from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).For his infrared photographs he used a large format camera and the now-discontinued Kodak Aerochrome film. Aerochrome is a false-color infrared film originally intended for aerial vegetation surveys and for military reconnaissance, such as to identify camouflaged targets. It registers a spectrum of infrared light invisible to the human eye, rendering the green landscape and soldiers’ uniforms in vivid hues of lavender, crimson and hot pink.
Critic Sean O’Hagan, writing in The Guardian, said “His images from there
often seem to skirt the real and the fictional, simply though [sic] their heightened and unreal colours. He has made the familiar seem strange and the real seem heightened to the point of absurdity. This is war reportage – but not as we know it.”Willy Staley, writing in the New York Times Magazine, said “Mosse highlights the eastern Congo’s natural bounty while acknowledging both the medium’s origins and, he points out, the West’s tendency to see in the Congo only darkness and insanity.”In June 2015 Mosse became a nominee member of Magnum Photos.
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 The Enclave an immersive six-channel video installation that utilized 16mm infrared film. The piece is an attempt, as Mosse explained 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 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; FotoMuseum Antwerp (FoMu); FOAM, Amsterdam; and the Tate Modern, London.
The Enclave opened at Hafnarhús, Reykjavík Art Museum, Iceland, September 30, 2016 – January 1, 2017. Mosse will also have a major multi-channel video installation at The Curve, Barbican Art Gallery, London, opening February 15, 2017 – April 23, 2017. Other recent solo exhibitions include The Enclave, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, August 27, 2015 – January 10, 2016; The Enclave, Portland Museum of Art, November 8, 2014 – February 8, 2015; The Enclave, DHC/ART, Montreal, October 16, 2014 – February 8, 2015; Richard Mosse: The Enclave, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark, February 6 – May 25, 2015; Richard Mosse: The Enclave, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, August 27, 2015 – January 10, 2016; Richard Mosse: The Enclave, National Gallery of Victoria, Australia, October 10, 2015 – February 28, 2016; and was invited to participate in Tu Dois Changer Ta Vie: Exposition Renaissance Lille 3000, France, September 26, 2015 – January 17, 2016.
is part of many public collections including the The National Gallery of Victoria, Australia; The Portland Art Museum; The Colby College Museum of Art; Rollins College/Cornell Fine Arts Museum; 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), The Enclave (2014), and A Change of Place (2016).
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