Richard Mosse: Broken Spectre ★★★★ 180 The Strand | Oct 12 - Dec 4, 2022


This impressive, not-to-be-missed exhibition deals with a momentous subject. The Amazon rainforest is often referred to as the lungs of the earth, and Richard Mosse's record of what is happening to that organ vital to human survival on this planet is devastating. The images and film in the exhibition are the result of three years documentation of environmental crimes happening in the Brazilian Amazon. Logging and burning, illegal mining and industrial agriculture are all contributing to the death of the biome, and Mosse's chronicle of that catastrophe brilliantly shifts from the micro to the macro perspective. There is fluorescent microscopic imagery that captures the details of environmental interdependence with a close-up view of plant and insect life, and there is airborne spectral footage that offers maps which expose the extent of the destruction on the large scale. Ironically, both sets of images of this ecological tragedy have a haunting beauty, and are presented in deceptively beautiful colour. When Mosse records the human perspective on these events the pictures are in black and white, starkly presenting the destruction we are wreaking on our home and presenting the choice we must make if we are to save it. "My film examines an intergenerational destruction; a legacy passed on from grandparents to grandchildren," says Mosse. "We have only one generation to save the Amazon rainforest." This exhibition does an extraordinary job of bringing home the temporal and spatial scale of this urgent, impending crisis. It needs to be seen by everyone who cares about our planet's environment and its future.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Image: Richard Mosse, Still from Broken Spectre, 2022

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