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Beauty is the sharpest tool in the box

‘Beauty is the sharpest tool in the box.’ Richard Mosse.

At Brothers We Stand we present our collection in a visually interesting way so that viewers are intrigued to find out the stories behind our products. 

But can beauty be used to draw attention to what is not good?

On Monday, Richard Mosse won the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2014 for his exhibition The Enclave. Mosse’s use of invisible infrared spectrum film renders the landscapes of the Congo bubble-gum pink. The aim – to draw attention to the hidden, largely unseen, ongoing humanitarian disaster in the Congo where 5.4 million people have died or been killed by war related causes since 1998.

 

 

 

 

Richard Mosse - The Enclave a review by Jude Hull, Photography Specialist at Christie's

 

Richard Mosse is my new favourite photographer. Arguably I am a bit slow on the uptake, but for those unable to attend the 2013 Venice Benniale, the Enclave provided a fantastic opportunity to catch Mosse at his best to date.

His candy coloured infrared images capturing the conflict in the Congo accompanied by a forty minute video installation left me feeling nothing short of mesmerised. 

 

The striking effect of Mosse's photographs is in part due to the infrared filter used on his large format camera which renders the landscape psychedelic pink and purple. These images, accompanied with a video installation, originally projected on eight screens but in this exhibition six, surely blur the lines between art and reportage. Intended to parallel the artists experience of the conflict in eastern Congo which was 'opaque...and carried down roads by rumour and fear', The Enclave invites viewers to journey with him into the unknown. I was at once captivated by the simultaneous horrors and beauties that unfold in the video to the haunting soundtrack composed by Ben Frost which includes a Congolese school song that, if translated, sings "give thanks to God for being still alive, give thanks to God for being still alive ". Arguably it is this assemblage of footage which has invited debate surrounding the ethics of making war photography beautiful.

 

Over the past decade Mosse has worked in Iran, Pakistan, Haiti and the former Yugoslavia. His motivation for going to the Congo was to 'press 'reset'...throwing past methodology to the wind and venturing into the unknown' not least because it is notoriously difficult to travel there. For this he has in me a new 'biggest fan' and I eagerly await his next project. I believe Mosse's work will endure and be recognised for inviting debate and charging the viewer, willingly or not, to think about the pernicious cycles of warfare that are taking place not only in the Congo but throughout the world at this time.

 

 

 

Richard Mosse
Poison Glen, South Kivu, eastern Congo, 2012,
Digital C print, 50 x 80 inches
© Richard Mosse
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery

 

 

 

Richard Mosse
Nowhere To Run, Eastern Congo, 2010 Digital C print,
182.9 x 228.9 cm
© Richard Mosse
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery

 

 

 

Richard Mosse
Beaucoups of Blues, Eastern Congo, 2012
Digital C print, 182.9 x 228.6 cm
© Richard Mosse
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery

 

 

 

Richard Mosse
Man-Size, North Kivu, eastern Congo, 2011
Digital C print, 72 x 90 inches
© Richard Mosse
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery

 

 

 

Richard Mosse
Madonna and Child, North Kivu, Eastern Congo, 2012
Digital C print, 35 x 28 inches
© Richard Mosse
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery

 

 

 

Richard Mosse
Safe From Harm, North Kivu, Eastern Congo, 2012
Digital C print, 48 x 60 inches
© Richard Mosse
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery

 

Prints from The Enclave can be viewed at The Photographers Gallery alongside other nominees for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2014 . Open to the public and free between 11th April and 22nd June 2014.


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