Richard Mosse, The Enclave Box set, 2013.
For the last three years, Richard Mosse has photographed in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a region in which a long-standing power vacuum has resulted in a horrifying cycle of violence, a Hobbesian “state of war,” so brutal and complex that it defies communication, remaining stubbornly outside global consciousness. The Enclave is the culmination of Mosse’s recent efforts to radically rethink traditional representations of conflict photography, drawing on artistic and documentary strategies in equal measure.
The Enclave publication presents images shot by Mosse with a large-format camera, as well as selections from the 16 mm film installation presented at the Irish Pavilion during the 55th Venice Biennale. With both still- and 16 mm cameras, Mosse uses a discontinued military surveillance film, which registers an invisible spectrum of infrared light. The resulting surreal palette describes these isolated, jungle war zones and the soldiers that inhabit them in disorienting psychedelic hues of scarlet, lavender, cobalt, and puce. Working with collaborators Trevor Tweeten (16 mm cinematography) and Ben Frost (sound design), Mosse has captured a landscape that is deceptively seductive, alluring.
Ultimately, however, the resulting images and film map the otherwise invisible edges of violence, chaos, and incommunicable horror. At the heart of the project, as Mosse states, is his exploration of the contradictions and limits of art’s ability “to represent narratives so painful that they exist beyond language—and photography’s capacity to document specific tragedies and communicate them to the world.”
The Enclave has been printed in a total of 1,000 copies, 250 of which have been released as part of a limited-edition boxed set.
The boxed set includes:
- a 45 rpm record with sound and music design by Ben Frost;
- a poster featuring an image by Richard Mosse and a transcription from the film;
- a signed and numbered copy of the book, released to coincide with an installation of the work at the Venice Biennale. (Book: 9 1/8 x 7 1/8 inches 240 pages, 142 four-color images)