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The NGV Presents Richard Mosse: Broken Spectre 

Annabel Blue
Richard Mosse: Broken Spectre

The NGV Presents Richard Mosse: Broken Spectre 

Next month, the National Gallery of Victoria will activate Richard Mosse’s world premiere of Broken Spectre, a powerful response to the devastating and ongoing impact of deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest. 

Domesticated Palms

Filmed in the remote parts of the Brazillian Amazon, Mosse’s video installation is the culmination of three years of careful documentation using a range of different scientific imaging technologies. 


In hopes to spotlight the challenges of climate destruction and make visible one of the world’s most pressing environmental emergencies of all, Broken Spectre brings forward the realities of deforestation, in a way that personalises the issue for those that aren’t immediately (or knowingly) affected. 

Hamster Cowboy Kid Portrait

Created in collaboration with Australian composer Ben Frost and American cinematographer Trevor Tweeten, Broken Spectre combines and expands upon Mosse’s contemporary art and documentary practices. The work is presented across an immersive 20-metre widescreen panorama, utilising different visually arresting strategies to depict the unfolding crisis. 

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Captured by satellite cameras, the imagery shows the scale of the destruction, contrasted with piercing images on infrared film showing the sporadic spots of flora that remain. 

Mass Burn Rondonia 01

Of the world premiere work, Richard Mosse said: ‘The scale of the catastrophe unfolds in ways that are too vast to comprehend, too minute to perceive, and too normalised to see. The work employs scalar shifts that move between different temporalities of seeing. Broken Spectre presents ecological narratives that shift wavelengths across environmental, anthropocentric and nonhuman violence, to articulate different fronts of destruction at play in the Amazon. Time itself is a crucial part of this catastrophe, as mass deforestation began in earnest in the early 1970s when the military regime built the Trans-Amazonian Highway (Rodovia Transamazônica), opening the primeval forest for development. Only a few generations later, this development has destroyed one fifth of the Amazon rainforest to make way for the cattle, soybean, and mining industries.’

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Mosse says, ‘Data gathered by satellites over the last three decades has revealed that within a few years we will reach the very tipping point at which we can no longer save the Amazon. Soon it will no longer be able to generate its own rain, triggering mass forest “dieback” with carbon release at devastating levels, impacting climate change, biodiversity and local communities. This is a world emergency that is entirely man-made.

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Richard Mosse: Broken Spectre will be on display from 30 September 2022 to 23 April 2023 at NGV International, St Kilda Road, Melbourne. Free entry. Further information is available via the NGV.

Find out more here.


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SEE ISSUE #06 HERE. The theme for this issue, Revelations, delves into the unfiltered aspects of life. It’s an appreciation and exploration of raw beauty, where authenticity reigns supreme; the unconventional is not just accepted but celebrated. In a world of manufactured perfection, this issue chooses to validate our quirks and idiosyncrasies. After all, they are what make us inimitable.

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