Colonel Soleil’s Boys, 2010 © Richard Mosse. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, NY

On Friday 13 April we will be returning to the Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool for what promises to be a stimulating study visit. Infra is the first solo exhibition in the UK by photographer Richard Mosse. Mosse’s images from the Democratic Republic of the Congo are captured using Kodak Aerochrome film which was originally developed for military aerial photography – foliage reflects infra-red well, whereas other materials which are green to the eye do not. The result is a startling clash between the sensuality of the images and the subject matter – rebel fighters in Congo’s ongoing brutal civil war – a war in which sexual violence and massacres are routine.

Alongside Infra the Open Eye is showing an archive exhibition For Most Of It I Have No Words; Genocide, Landscape and Memory by Simon Norfolk which was originally shown in the gallery in 1998. Arguably there has never been a better time to revisit this study, described by Michael Ignatieff in the following terms: ‘these photographs also tell us that nature will wash away both pebbles and headstones alike. All we can do is to place them there, over and over, from generation to generation, for as long as we can.’

To stimulate discussion we will get a short introduction by a member of the gallery staff and be accompanied by photography Curriculum Leader, Peter Haveland. Starting at 11am and taking a break for coffee, we expect to be finished by 2pm. The last study visit to the Open Eye prompted some vigorous debate and this promises to to be a heavily subscribed event. To book your free place please email

General Février, 2010 © Richard Mosse. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, NY

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15 comments for “Infra

  1. 24 February 2012 at 1:05 pm

    I’ve never been a fan of these images, aesthetically speaking, but still, it will be interesting to see them up close and personal…

    • 24 February 2012 at 1:27 pm

      For me there is something appealing about the dissonance between what you know about the individuals portrayed and the way they appear – it’s the antithesis of the usual colour associations. I’ve added a second image to the post (General Février) which I think epitomises this.

      There is a video with Richard Mosse talking about some of the technical aspects of Infra on ASX here.

  2. 24 February 2012 at 3:18 pm

    Should make an interesting comparison with the Bhimji show.

    • Lerpy
      24 February 2012 at 6:32 pm

      More of a contrast I’d say Peter, this one contains the perpetrators of genocide rather than the implements and aftermath

  3. 24 February 2012 at 7:36 pm

    “Compare and contrast…”

  4. 29 February 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Unfortunately, I can not make this day. Simon Norfolk’s work is interesting is remarkable but I would also like to have seen Richard Mosse’s work in an exhibition space.

  5. Ben
    1 March 2012 at 11:06 am

    I have been to the site and I find the unusual film stock and the colour it produces simply odd, rather than interesting.
    What is the purpose of shooting such a dramatic and extreme subject in this way? What is it he wants us to look at: is it the photographic narrative of the desperate situation in the country or the bizarre aesthetic? In other words, is this an artistic assignment or a reportage? I really don’t feel this odd juxtaposition works at all.

    • 1 March 2012 at 11:47 am

      In other words, is this an artistic assignment or a reportage? An interesting question Ben. You might be interested to see the debate here.

      • 3 March 2012 at 12:45 am

        Perhaps the fact is this is a combination of both art and documentary – I find this blending of approaches encouraging as long as it does not compromise or trivialise the matter of the work … !?

  6. Jennifer Wallace
    1 March 2012 at 7:41 pm

    How come this doesn’t show up on the OCA website calendar?

    • 2 March 2012 at 1:13 pm

      Good question Jennifer. In this case, it was simply an oversight.

      However, we have been having discussions with OCASA about the student site and the calendar was highlighted as not very useful. We are therefore discontinuing it and looking to find a better way to alert people to the study visit programme.

  7. Stephanie
    3 March 2012 at 4:14 am

    I am very interested in this work. I find it arresting and (importantly), shocking – particularly the 2nd picture. I feel it physically – it makes me feel slightly sick and also cold – an interesting and powerful response I think.

    I look forward to the visit, and will be travelling half the length of England to see it!

  8. 14 April 2012 at 10:24 am

    My notes are now on the blog at

    Thanks for the interesting discussions – I still don’t like what I see, but at least I’ve considered it more than at a superficial level.

    • Stephanie
      14 April 2012 at 12:16 pm

      I think Richard Mosse wants the viewer to think harder and at least do a double so it sounds as if it worked for you Rob.

      I couldn’t go afterall sadly so look forward to comments following the trip.

      • 14 April 2012 at 2:25 pm

        Quite agree Stephanie – Mosse is tying to slow us down – I think it is possible to dislike the results and recognise the thought that went into the attempt.

        Sorry you missed the visit.

        My write up is now live here

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