“Débris is a surprising double-exposure that I made quite by accident in March 2011. One simple error destroyed all my work from that journey. This great personal tragedy came to represent a sort of threshold in my life and work. It formed an epiphany in which I realized that I must return to Congo and persevere with Infra, which has been an exhausting struggle, in a remarkably difficult environment, against my own practice and my best instincts. Débris pushed me to embrace failure and let go of certain ways of seeing. As Samuel Beckett said, ‘Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’” —Richard Mosse
This limited-edition photograph from Richard Mosse’s first monograph, Infra (Aperture, 2012), offers a radical rethinking of how to depict a conflict as complex and intractable as that of the ongoing war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. For centuries, the Congo has repeatedly compelled and defied the Western imagination. Mosse brings to this subject the use of a discontinued aerial surveillance film, a type of color infrared film called Kodak Aerochrome. The film, originally developed for military reconnaissance, registers an invisible spectrum of infrared light, rendering the green landscape in vivid hues of lavender, crimson, and hot pink. The results offer a fevered inflation of the traditional reportage document, underlining the growing tension between art, fiction, and photojournalism.
Laumont in New York printed each digital C-print in this edition in October 2011, under the supervision of the artist. Each print is presented in a cloth folio made from unique Congolese fabric procured by the artist
Richard Mosse (b. 1980, Ireland) received an MFA in photography from Yale University School of Art and a postgraduate diploma in fine art from Goldsmiths, London. He also holds a first-class BA in English literature from King’s College London and a master’s in cultural studies from the London Consortium (ICA, AA, Tate, Birkbeck). His work has been widely exhibited internationally, including at the Akademie der Künste, Berlin; Barbican Art Gallery, London; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Tate Modern, London; Dublin Gallery of Photography; and SFMOMA Artists Gallery. In 2011, Mosse was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, with a supplemental stipend from the Leon Levy Foundation. In 2006, he received a Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Performing and Visual Arts. Mosse is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.