Richard Mosse at the Venice Biennale

Jun 6, 2013 2:42PM

Last weekend the art world descended on Venice for the 55th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale. In addition to the thematic exhibition “The Encyclopedic Palace,” curated by Massimiliano Gioni, there are national pavilions from dozens of countries. The Irish Pavilion, located at Fondaco Marcello, is given over to The Enclave, a new six-screen film installation by artist Richard Mosse. Aperture is pleased to publish the artist’s book accompanying this installation. The book is available now in Venice, and will be available soon via and other outlets.

For the last three years, 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. Shooting with both still- and 16 mm-cameras, he uses a discontinued military surveillance film, which registers an invisible spectrum of infrared light. Mosse has captured the landscape in disorienting psychedelic hues of scarlet, lavender, cobalt, and puce, creating images that are deceptively seductive andalluring. Ultimately, however, the resulting images and film map the otherwise invisible edges of violence, chaos, and incommunicable horror
 of isolated, jungle war zones. 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 communi- cate them to the world.”

The book is an extraordinary object, and is printed in a limited run. There will be only one thousand copies of this title, 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; and a signed-and-numbered copy of the book.

In 2012 Aperture published Richard Mosse's first book Infra, and released an accompanying limited-edition print.

Our friends at Frieze magazine profiled Mosse on the occasion of his presentation in Venice. Watch the video.


Image: Richard Mosse, The Enclave, 2013. Six-screen film installation, color infrared film transferred to HD video. All images of the installation courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery. Photos by Tom Powel Imaging Inc.