20 December 2013: The Arts Council announces the return of The Enclave by Richard Mosse

The Arts Council has today announced that The Enclave by Richard Mosse will return to Ireland for a celebratory tour in Dublin and Limerick early in 2014 following a highly successful stint at the 55th International Art Exhibition, the Venice Biennale.

The piece was the Irish entry into the Biennale and was supported by the Arts Council and the Culture Ireland division of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The Irish Tour will be supported by the Arts Council as part of its commitment to promote the visual arts to Irish audiences.

The Enclave by Irish artist Richard Mosse received widespread international acclaim at Venice* and a homecoming tour supported by the Arts Council will show at the RHA Dublin from January 30th until March 12th and in Limerick to mark the City of Culture events from March 28th until May 5th 2014.

Ms. Orlaith McBride, Director of the Arts Council, said  "The Arts Council is delighted to be able to support this major public outreach initiative. The exhibitions will give the Irish public the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate this great work which has received exceptional international attention. These exhibitions will show Irish people the strength, passion and impact of Irish visual artists internationally".

Richard Mosse represented Ireland with The Enclave, a major new multi-media installation at the 55th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Vinezia. The Commissioner and Curator is Anna O'Sullivan. While in Venice, the exhibition received exceptional reviews, with nearly 80,000 people viewing the exhibit.

Throughout 2012, Richard Mosse and his collaborators Trevor Tweeten and Ben Frost travelled in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, infiltrating armed rebel groups in a war zone plagued by frequent ambushes, massacres and systematic sexual violence. The resulting installation, The Enclave, is the culmination of Mosse's attempt to radically rethink war photography. It is a search for more adequate strategies to represent a forgotten African tragedy in which 5.4 million people have died of war-related causes in eastern Congo since 1998. A long-standing power vacuum in eastern Congo has resulted in a horrifying cycle of violence, which Mosse describes as "a Hobbesian 'state of war', so brutal and complex that it resists communication, and goes unseen in the global consciousness".

Mosse brought a discontinued military surveillance film into this situation, "representing an intangible conflict" with a medium that registers an invisible spectrum of infrared light, and was originally designed for camouflage detection. The resulting images, shot on 16mm infrared film by cinematographer Trevor Tweeten, renders the jungle war zone in disorienting psychedelic hues of vivid magenta, lavender, cobalt, and puce. Ben Frost's ambient audio composition, comprised entirely of organic Congolese field recordings, hovers bleakly over the unfolding tragedy.

"I am beginning to perceive this vicious loop," Mosse wrote from Goma, "of subject and object. The camera provokes and involuntary unravelling, a mutual hijack of authorship and autonomy".

Neither scripted nor directed, Congolese rebels return the camera's predatory gaze in a distinctly confrontational and accusatory manner. The lens seems to mesmerise and provoke those it encounters in The Enclave, including rebels fighting under the command of those sought for trial by the International Criminal Court. "This precarious face-off reveals inherent ambiguities of masculinity, defiance, vulnerability, and indictment," according to Mosse.

"The Enclave immerses the viewer in a challenging and sinister world, posing aesthetic questions in a situation of profound human suffering. At the heart of the project is an attempt to bring "two counter-worlds into collision: art's potential to represent narratives so painful that they exist beyond language, and photography's capacity to document specific tragedies and communicate them to the world".

The Arts Council’s homecoming of The Enclave is supported by Limerick City of Culture, Colortrend and The Irish Times.

The Enclave will show at the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin from 30th January - 12th March 2014 and at Ormston House and 6a Rutland Street, Limerick from 28th March to 5th May, as part of the celebration of Limerick City of Culture 2014.

Desert Rose, (oil on board) - Colin Middleton, 1975, Arts Council Virtual Gallery.
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Desert Rose, (oil on board) - Colin Middleton, 1975, Arts Council Virtual Gallery.

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