carlier | gebauer is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new works by Richard Mosse. The Irish conceptual photographer rose to prominence with his prize-winning series The Enclave, which offered a radical rethinking of how to represent a war as complex and intractable as the ongoing conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Mosse’s latest body of work continues his investment in questions of globalization, immigration, displacement, and diaspora — as well as his reflexive use of military technology to question the ways in which photography is constructed.
The Castle comprises a selection of photographs from Mosse’s new series Heat Maps that depict temporary encampments and border crossings along migration routes to Europe from the Middle East and Africa. Each “Heat Map” is constructed from hundreds of frames shot using a telephoto lens. To make these images, Mosse radically repurposes an insidious technological form: the thermographic camera. This apparatus of the military-humanitarian crisis was primarily designed for border surveillance, search and rescue missions, and — when attached to a weapons system — for identifying and tracking targets. The images that such cameras register record contours in heat, rather than registering light and shadow. Reading heat as both metaphor and index, these tonally inverted monochromatic images do not attempt to represent the refugee crisis in a seemingly “transparent” or objective way. Instead, they ask how the notion of “the visible” might be expanded and how, through using a scopic technology against itself, the conditions of visibility might be fundamentally restructured.
Mosse engages in what art historian and critic T.J. Demos calls the “derealization of representation”. This strategy seeks to render sensible “the terrible nearness of distant places”, which Mosse does by utilizing a camera that can register forms from 30 kilometers away. Building upon Rancière’s claim that “art becomes political… not simply by communicating a political message” but rather by “[intervening] in the very organization of communicable form”, the photographs in The Castle depict landscapes of indeterminacy, ambivalence, disorientation, and uncertainty.
Richard Mosse (b.1980, Kilkenny) lives and works in New York and Ireland. He is a recipient of Prix Pictet Space 2017, the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize, the Yale Poynter Fellowship in Journalism, the B3 Award at the Frankfurt Biennial, the Guggenheim Fellowship, a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship. His immersive six-channel 16mm infrared film installation The Enclave was exhibited at the National Pavilion of Ireland during the 55th Venice Art Biennale. He has had solo exhibitions in venues such as The Barbican Center, London; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk; FOAM, Amsterdam; Portland Art Museum, Portland; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Nasher Museum of Art, Durham; Reykjavik Art Museum, Reykjavik; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Akademie der Kunste, Berlin; Lille3000, Lille; Kunsthaus Graz, Graz; and MCA Chicago, Chicago. Upcoming solo exhibitions include MMK, Frankfurt in 2018 and SF MoMA, in 2019.