30/05/2013 Venice Launch of Ireland’s Exhibition at the 55th Venice Art Biennale

Venice Launch of Ireland’s Exhibition at the 55th Venice Art Biennale

Ireland’s representation at the 55th Venice Art Biennale was launched this afternoon in Venice. La Biennale di Venezia has long been recognised as the most important visual arts showcase in the world. Ireland’s participation at the Venice Biennale is an initiative of the Culture Ireland division of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in partnership with the Arts Council.  The partners have worked closely together on the selection of the Commissioner and artist to represent Ireland at Venice since 2005.

Ireland is represented in Venice, this year by the artist, Richard Mosse, presented by Commissioner / Curator Anna O’Sullivan, Director of the Butler Gallery, Kilkenny. Richard represents Ireland with The Enclave, a major new multi-media installation.

Speaking in Dublin recently at the launch of Ireland’s participation at Venice, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan TD., commented: “The Biennale represents an immense opportunity for Irish artists to present their work at the leading visual arts showcase in the world and to gain international exposure to high profile curators and collectors”.  He went on to say that this showcase is not only a focus on Richard but is also an opportunity to attract attention to the depth, strength and diversity of a generation of visual artists working in Ireland. “I am confident that Richard’s work will be highly regarded alongside that of the other international artists in Venice”.

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 rethink war photography. It is a search for more adequate strategies to represent a forgotten African tragedy in which, according to the International Rescue Committee, at least 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, a Hobbesian ‘state of war’, so brutal and complex that it resists communication, and goes unseen in the global consciousness. Mosse brings a discontinued military surveillance film to 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 imagery, shot on 16mm infrared film by cinematographer Trevor Tweeten, renders the jungle war zone in a disorienting psychedelic palette. Ben Frost’s ambient audio composition, comprised entirely of recordings gathered in the field in eastern DRC, hovers bleakly over the unfolding tragedy.
The Enclave immerses the viewer in a challenging and sinister world, exploring aesthetics in a situation of profound human suffering. At the heart of the project, as Mosse states, 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.”

Aperture Foundation is releasing a 240 page monograph, The Enclave, with an essay by Jason Stearns, to coincide with the Biennale.

Ireland’s Ambassador to Italy, Patrick Hennessy will officiate at Ireland’s opening which will be attended by many key international curators and artists, alongside the Arts Council’s Chairman, Pat Moylan and Director, Orlaith McBride and Director of Culture Ireland, Christine Sisk.

Mosse joins an illustrious list of Irish artists who have presented work at the Venice Biennale since 1950, the year Norah McGuinness and Nano Reid exhibited. Irish artists exhibiting at Venice over the years have attracted significant interest and  subsequent opportunities to present their work at a range of prestigious international exhibitions.  There is developing international interest in the work of Mosse who is well positioned to benefit from the international platform the Biennale offers.

Following the launch today, the exhibition will be open to the public from June 1st until November 24th.

The Culture Ireland division of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht promotes Irish arts worldwide, creating and supporting opportunities for Irish artists to present their work at strategic international festivals, venues, showcases and arts markets.

The Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon is the state agency for funding, developing and promoting the arts in Ireland.  It works in partnership with artists, arts organisations, public policy makers and others to build a central place for the arts in Irish life.

The Pavilion has received co-sponsorship from Eastern Congo Initiative and European Cities of Advanced Sound.



Richard Mosse – artist
Richard Mosse’s (b. Kilkenny, Ireland, 1980) practice resides at the intersection between documentary photography and contemporary art. Drawing from the Romantics, Surrealism, psychedelia, punk, and modern military reconnaissance technologies, he seeks to challenge and transgress traditional conventions of war photography through unmitigated aesthetic strategies in situations of tragedy and conflict. His work has been exhibited at the Akademie der Künste, Berlin; Barbican Art Gallery, London; Bass Museum, Miami; Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City; Kunsthaus Munich; Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Open Eye Liverpool; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Mosse has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Performing and Visual Arts, and a Visual Arts Bursary from the Irish Arts Council. Mosse holds an MFA in photography from Yale University and a postgraduate diploma in fine art from Goldsmiths College, London. He also holds a first-class BA in English literature from King’s College London and an MA in cultural studies from the London Consortium (ICA, AA, Tate, Birkbeck). Aperture Foundation and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting co-published his first monograph, Infra, in 2012. Mosse is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Anna O Sullivan – Commissioner and Curator
Anna O’Sullivan (b. Dublin, Ireland, 1958) is the Director and Chief Curator of the Butler Gallery, in Kilkenny, Ireland where she also manages the Butler Gallery Permanent Collection. Prior to joining the Butler Gallery in 2005, O’Sullivan spent over twenty years in New York, first as Performance Curator at the avant-garde arts venue Franklin Furnace and then as Director of the Robert Miller Gallery and Danese Gallery. O’Sullivan has worked with many internationally-renowned artists and artists’ estates to realise projects and exhibitions including Alice Neel, Eva  Hesse, Lee Krasner and Patti Smith at the Robert Miller Gallery, and Hans Op de Beeck, Ian Burns, Louise Bourgeois, Werner Herzog, Tony O’Malley, Barry McGee, Jeanne Silverthorne and Eve Sussman at the Butler Gallery, Kilkenny. O’Sullivan has published several catalogues on Irish artists including Tony O’Malley, Barrie Cooke, Michael Beirne and Gypsy Ray. O’Sullivan graduated from the National College of Art & Design Dublin and the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program in New York.



Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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