Infra, Richard Mosse’s first book, offers a radical rethinking of how to depict a conflict as complex and intractable as that of the ongoing war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Richard Mosse was in search for a place of hard realities whose narratives urgently need telling but cannot be easily described. Congo is just such a place. It is tangled in a protracted,complex, and convoluted conflict, fought by rebels with constantly switching allegiance. These narratives, though brutal and tragic, are not tales that are easily told. It verges on the abstract, at the very limits of description and Mosse needed to find an appropriate form to better describe this sinister resonance.

Aerochrome film gave a way of thinking through his presence in Congo and allowed him to evaluate the rules of photojournalism. Less concerned with conscience than with consciousness, Mosse began to feel that this precarious aesthetic strategy actually corresponded with certain specifics of his subject.

This book is the result of a personal struggle with the disparity between the limited powers of a photographic representation and the unspeakable world that confronts us. The pain of others, revisited.


General Février, 2010 (Richard Mosse/INSTITUTE/Jack Shainman Gallery)