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Richard Mosse

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Richard Mosse
The Castle
Mack, 2018 
ISBN: 978-1-912339-18-1

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Richard Mosse 
Incoming
Mack, 2017 
ISBN: 978-1-910164-77-8 

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Richard Mosse 
Richard Mosse
The Curve, Barbican Center, 2017 
ISBN: 978-0-9957082-0-4


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Louisa Elderton, Richard Mosse, Art in America, April 2018

 

Hundreds of black-and-white photographs are pieced together to create vast, ghostly landscapes in Richard Mosse's recent series of large-scale prints, "Heat Maps" (2015-17).  Continuing his engagement with technologies of being, Mosse employed a military-issue thermographic  camera with a telephoto lens to document refugee camps throughout Europe from distances of around three to nine miles. The resulting photomontages thus interpret the ongoing refugee crisis.

At  Hellinikon Olympic Arena  (2016), Olympic Stadium in Athens, surrounded by tiers of empty seats. The image seems like an allegory for the dwindling public awareness of the Crisis and its current status. The media furor that arose when it started in 2015 has diminished over time, but the numbers of displaced people have continued to grow. In March 2016, Europe made a deal with Turkey that effectively stems the flow of incoming refugees, with scores of people left in limbo in Greece. The tents occupy the majority of Mosse's composition, to desolate effect, and are now becoming garaged. The latter, due to the thermographic medium, appear almost bleached-out. It is as if they are overshadowed by the makeshift architecture, their presence (and plights) obscured by the substandard infrastructure. Hieronymus Bosch's  Garden of Earthly Delights in which seagulls to recede in the dark panorama that consumes them.

Mosse's camera all the way to and from the World Wide Web, the works encapsulating the global movement of people, from negative to positive The dissemination of surveillance programs that focus on migrant populations. Mosse's expansive compositions-which stretch to more than thirteen feet across-engulf vignettes, giving them the feeling that they are somehow being watched, though this sense of scrutiny is counteracted by the remote vantage points. The tension that results in the stress and gaze that follows refugees (especially by the right-wing media) and the distance kept from them when it comes provides asylum or meaningful solutions. Indeed, the exhibition's title,

The show also included a series of smaller-scale, more close shot images. These were stills from Mosse's 2015-16 three-screen video installation  Incoming , Which was not on view but Which uses the same technology to portray refugees traveling by sea. Special poignant  images of a life-jacketed woman on a pilgrimage detailing (glasses, open mouths). It is as if they are not real people with actual lives. As with Kafka's K., they are alienated from any meaningful governmental recognition, their legal right to exist under duress.