Richard Mosse – Candy-Colored Congo

Candy-Colored Congo

Richard Mosse’s three years of photography work in the Congo using discontinued infrared film is haunting, surreal and beautiful, and it’s currently on display at this year’s Venice Biennial and in a book due out this fall under the work’s title, The Enclave. Mosse is increasingly known for bringing the Cold War-era satellite film, Aerochrome, a new popularity. The false-color infrared satellite film was initially used for aerial reconnaissance, showing healthy foliage as pink and red and thereby highlighting camouflage as blue or purple. Here, it is the medium for on-the-ground images from war zones of the Congo. As with the film’s properties that switch one color for another on the spectrum, viewers may become unsure of what they are looking at, and where it fits in the cultural spectrum. Through his lens, a world of sinister machismo is seen in the hues of prom dresses and flowers. Is it an art project or a serious documentary? Either way, the images upend these tidy categories and introduce messy questions about objectivity and aesthetics. In a recent interview for Wired, Mosse discusses how shooting witAerochrome is like taking care of a baby, his “golden” Irish passport, corruption and the role of the artist.


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