©RichardMosse

The Enclave is a 40 minute video installation and the culmination of Mosse’s work in the Congo. He shot it using a special type of infrared film called Kodak Aerochrome that was invented for surveillance and developed by the US military during the 1940’s.  It picks up infrared light invisible to the human eye that is reflected off green chlorophyll, so that out in the field an enemy is no longer camouflaged.

 

©RichardMosse

The landscape of the Congo is a wall of green; lush and tropical, the countryside there looks like a contemporary Eden. In Mosse’s imagery, the greens become bright pinks and purples, and ideas of paradise are upended.

Mosse was drawn to working on the conflict in the Congo as it’s such an unseen problem. He wanted to document this intangible and unknowable war that has already killed over 5.4 million people. By shooting in infrared he – literally and metaphorically - makes visible the invisible. In his work, the artistic challenge posed by getting an impossible photograph goes hand in hand with wanting to highlight human suffering.

 

©RichardMosse

Part documentary, part contemporary art, the impact of watching The Enclave is immense. We are used to seeing war imagery depicted in black and white, or shown through the conventions of investigative journalism. Mosse’s stunning images make us see war and violence afresh.

 

©RichardMosse

Mosse himself explains the experience of looking at his work with pinpoint accuracy: ‘Of primal importance to me is beauty. It’s the mainline to making people feel something … it’s the sharpest tool in the box. But if you depict beauty in something that shows human suffering, it creates an ethical problem in the viewers mind. It makes them confused and angry and disoriented. This is great because then you’ve got them to think about the act of perception and how the imagery is produced and consumed.’

 

©RichardMosse

The Republic of Congo is a country saturated by cultural referencing; from The Heart of Darkness onwards it has been overlaid with ideas of the unknowable and other. The Enclave clears a space through this to create a new visual lexicon.

 

©RichardMosse