Ireland in Congo, in pink! (Or the trouble with war art)

imageAt the Irish pavilion in Venice, named the enclave, the above picture is even a lot more, well, pink. Together with a series of cleverly shot videos, the stills form a psychedelically coloured documentation of fighters roaming the wilds of Congo. Northern Kivu, Goma and environs, etc. It is an intense work by Richard Mosse, shot on discontinued army stock that was meant to aid the detection of camouflage uniforms. Judge for yourself:

image

I actually, really, truly, wonder if you can spot the fighters any faster than if it were shot on regular Fuji-film or Kodak or whatever. But that may be due to Mosse’s idiosyncratic colouring. That part was not clear. Let me be clear about one thing: In my opinion this works as art. It’s a beautiful installation and that’s where the problem may reside: Does it use, utilise, instrumentalise, glamourise etc. war in any way? I’d say yes but I do wonder if it matters. Mosse raises my journalistic hackles immediately by having someone declare in the curatorial text (the genre should be banned) that his work proposes a new way of looking at photojournalism. Spare me! Journalism and photojournalism have been reinvented so many times now that it’s sucked drier than… And what does it mean anyway? But setting aside my immediate antipathy, I do recognise that the images are powerful and that is important in itself:
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I have a couple of friends who hold strong opinions on the issues of war photography, art and Congo. I’ll try to get their reaction. Stay tuned…

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Ferry

Journalist, analyst, aspiring thinker.

One thought on “Ireland in Congo, in pink! (Or the trouble with war art)

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