Richard Mosse’s Breach

BLDGBLOG has posted a great interview with Richard Mosse about his new project “Breach” in which he photographed Saddam Hussein’s palaces in Iraq and some of their current use by the US Military. (They also interviewed him a year ago for his series on Air Disaster Simulations)

The most interesting thing about the whole endeavor for me was the very fact that the U.S. had chosen to occupy Saddam’s palaces in the first place. If you’re trying to convince a population that you have liberated them from a terrible dictator, why would you then sit in his throne? A savvier place to station the garrison would have been a place free from associations with Saddam, and the terror and injustices that the occupying forces were convinced they’d done away with. Instead, they made the mistake of repeating history.


BLDGBLOG: What was the basic story behind your visit to Iraq? Was it self-funded or sponsored by a gallery?

Richard Mosse: The trip was backed by a Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Performing and Visual Arts, which I received after graduating from Yale last summer with an MFA in photography. The Fellowship provides enough to fund two full years of traveling to make new photographs, and I applied to shoot in a range of places, including Iraq. My proposal was to make work around the idea of the accidental monument. I’m interested in the idea that history is something in a constant state of being written and rewritten—and the way that we write history is often plain to see in how we affect the world around us, in the inscriptions we make on our landscape, and in what stays and what goes.

3 Responses to “Richard Mosse’s Breach”

  1. Davin Ellicson

    Just brilliant work and that Annenberg Fellowship is in the $100,000-$150,000 range I think. Of course the US military is interested in boasting of their victory and have therefore set up camp in Saddam’s palaces. Somehow even with the best of intentions I just don’t think the US military would ever be so humble as to not do so. War is about conquering other people with heavy weaponry. There’s a very male desire to dominate aspect to being a soldier with a machine gun.

  2. Worth a Look: Two from BLDGBLOG | dvafoto

    […] war and reconnaissance. Very interesting to consider. I’ll also remind you that BLDGBLOG has a great interview (at least his second) with photographer Richard Mosse about his project “Breach”, […]

  3. Richard Mosse’s Theatre of War | dvafoto

    […] work, most recently about his Pink Soldiers and earlier about a related project to this video, “Breach”. It is great to see how is vision and passion for “classical history paintings” […]

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