PORTLAND, Ore.—The Portland Art Museum announced today that it will be the first U.S. museum to present Richard Mosse’s powerful video installation The Enclave (2013). The work, which premiered at the 2013 Venice Biennale in the Irish Pavilion, will open on November 8, 2014, and run through February 8, 2015. Several of his monumental photographs from the Democratic Republic of Congo will also be on display.
The Enclave was produced using a recently discontinued military film technology originally designed in World War II to reveal camouflaged installations hidden in the landscape. This film registers an invisible spectrum of infrared light, rendering the green landscape in vivid hues of lavender, crimson, and hot pink. On the threshold of the medium’s extinction, Mosse employed this film to document an ongoing conflict situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. This humanitarian disaster—in which 5.4 million people have died since 1998—is largely overlooked by the mass media. Frequent massacres, human rights violations, and widespread sexual violence remain unaccounted for. In a kind of advocacy of seeing, The Enclave attempts to cast this forgotten tragedy in a new spectrum of light, to make this forgotten humanitarian disaster visible.
The Enclave comprises six monumental double-sided screens installed in a large darkened chamber, creating a physically immersive experience. This disorienting and kaleidoscopic installation is intended to formally parallel eastern Congo’s multifaceted conflict, confounding expectations and forcing the viewer to interact spatially from an array of differing viewpoints. Its haunting, visceral soundscape is layered spatially by 12-point surround sound, composed by Ben Frost from recordings gathered in North and South Kivu. The piece took more than a year to produce. It is a looping, non-linear narrative which documents civilians fleeing massacre and Mai Mai militia preparing for battle, as well as M23 rebels moving on, fighting for, and finally taking the city of Goma. This humanitarian disaster unfolds in a landscape of extraordinary beauty, on the shores of Lake Kivu.
“Richard’s ability to use the sublime in his art to engage the viewer is impressive. With this approach, one is captivated and then forced to contemplate the complex humanitarian issues occurring on a daily basis in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” said Brian Ferriso, The Marilyn H. and Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr. Director.
Mosse was born in Ireland in 1980 and currently lives and works in New York. He earned an MFA in photography from Yale School of Art and a postgraduate diploma in fine art from Goldsmiths in London. In 2014, Mosse was awarded the prestigious Deutsche Börse Photography Prize, and in 2011 received a Guggenheim Fellowship. Foreign Policy Magazine listed him as a Leading Global Thinker of 2013.
The Enclave is organized by the Portland Art Museum and curated by Brian Ferriso, The Marilyn H. and Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr. Director, and Julia Dolan, Ph.D., The Minor White Curator of Photography.
The Enclave is generously supported by Jasmin and Matthew Felton, Katherine and James Gentry, Lisa Domenico Brooke, Linda Rae Hickey, Kathleen Lewis Linda and Steven McGeady , The Arnold and Augusta Newman Foundation, The Lazar Foundation , Gun Denhart, Rosine and Colin Evans, and Margaret and Roger Hinshaw.
Watch this video to learn more about the making of The Enclave.
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