July 2, 2021

Richard Mosse’s Photography Retrospective ‘Displaced’ Opens at Fondazione MAST in Bologna, Italy

The 6-by-8-foot Platon, a 2012 image of land in the Democratic Republic of Congo that’s fought over by indigenous Congolese tribes and rebel militias, is part of Richard Mosse’s solo photography and video exhibition at Fondazione MAST in Bologna, Italy, through September 19.  Photography courtesy of Richard Mosse and Collection Jack Shainman.

Richard Mosse is not a typical war photographer. Rather than document a crisis—the battle, the crossing of the border—as it’s hap­pening, he instead captures the aftermath, the destruction the conflict has left behind in such areas as Kosovo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lebanon, and the South American rainforest, the latter his most recent series, which focuses on nature rather than humans. It’s a body of work that has earned him an honorary fellowship with the Royal Photographic Society as well as his first retrospective exhibition, “Displaced,” at Fondazione MAST in Bologna, Italy. Some of the 77 large-format photographs reveal the techniques for which the 41-year-old Irishman is known, particularly visible in his Infra series. It depicts his trip to Africa’s North Kivu, a region rich in mineral resources (such as coltan, from which tantalum, present in all smartphones, is extracted) and marked by continuous wars and humanitarian disasters. For those photographs, Mosse chose Kodak Aerochrome, a discontinued infrared-sensitive military reconnaissance film developed to locate camouflaged subjects, which recorded the chlorophyll in vegetation, resulting in the Congolese pastureland being transformed into a surreal pink and red landscape. The images, Mosse says, “makes the invisible visible.”

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