States Of Being


Nov 13 – Dec 20, 2008
513 West 20th Street New York, NY 10011

Press Release



November 13th – December 20th, 2008

Opening Reception, Thursday, November 13th 6-8pm

Jack Shainman Gallery is pleased to present Airside, Richard Mosse’s inaugural solo exhibition in New York, comprised of large-scale color photographs of sinister air disaster simulators.

A plane crash, like any disaster, is a moment of contingency and confusion. Large aircraft are reduced to virtually nothing in a matter of seconds. The disaster itself cannot be seen beneath a thick cloud of black smoke, leaving no trace other than the visceral scent of aviation fuel, burnt foliage, and death.

Yet the air disaster exists in our cultural imagination as spectacle. An airliner in vertical descent is a symbol of modernity’s failure. This is why air transport is highly prized by the terrorist. It is a mainline to human fear, something horrifying but also aesthetically powerful and symbolic of unstoppable globalization.

The hyper-functional, pared down forms in Mosse’s photographs speak of mass anxiety, routine submission to terrible fear, as well as our desire to see, to experience an air disaster. Charred and phallic, these are monuments built to our own fear. They are built not to assuage our fear, but to make it concrete, to articulate our worst nightmares, so that we may ritualize our helplessness.

These provisional structures bear an uncanny resemblance to Minimal sculptural form, but one that has been designed automatically. As life-size replicas of the air disaster, their toy-like nature is made formidable and sublime. The work locates a ‘big toys for big boys’ philosophy on the map of disaster politics. These are anonymous sculptures which speak unselfconsciously about our ambivalence to terror, their phallic form baldly revealing our unconscious desire for disaster.

A recent graduate of Yale’s photography MFA, Richard Mosse was awarded The Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Performing and Visual Arts. This is a major new grant which will enable Mosse to travel extensively over the coming two years to make new work.

Born and raised in Ireland, Mosse studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths and English literature at Kings College London. His work has been exhibited at Tate Modern, The Barbican Centre and Art Chicago. Airside was featured on the front cover of Source, an established British photography magazine, as well as in Art Review, C International Photo Magazine and Lapiz. Mosse has been interviewed on National Public Radio and London’s Resonance FM. This will be his first exhibition at the gallery.

For further information and press photography please contact Jack Shainman Gallery at