May 11, 2014 § 2 Comments
Richard Mosse, Still from The Enclave (detail), 2012–13, 16mm infrared film transferred to HD video, 39:25 mins. Courtesy: The artist and Jack Shainman Gallery.
I recently saw The Enclave, Richard Mosse with sound by Ben Frost, at CoFA Gallery in Sydney – and it was beautiful. In a large dark room six large screens all set apart from each other but all related, the internal four forming walls with two side flanking sceens diverting your attention with corresponding and contrasting images.
What I loved was the alternation between absurdity and normalcy. Some of the sequences looked staged, while others were so unique they could only have been of the moment. Aspects of lives that build around violence.
Seeing everything from low long sweeps of the landscape, to different urban centers of the Congo, to watching a local talent show, a funeral, a house moving. The remains of dugout houses of militia(?), hidden high on a mountain lookout. A rushing river and a bridge. The infrared film and use of stedicam give the images this smooth and otherworldly appearance, as if I was there as a sort of apparition.
The work was masterful in building suspense and tension for a moment that never came. I was left wondering what was I expected to be scared of? Was the tension indicative of the time, or have I been conditioned to align feelings with these kinds of scenes – people in uniforms, rhythmic sound, weapons, hiding and reveal.