ANRI SALA, « ANSWER ME » / New Museum New York / 03/02/16 – 10/04/2016.

In February 2016, the New Museum will present a major exhibition of the work of Anri Sala (b. 1974), one of the most acclaimed artists to emerge in recent decades.

Highlighting Sala’s continuing interest in how sound and music can engage architecture and history, “Anri Sala” will feature extensive multichannel audio and video installations that will unfold across the Second, Third, and Fourth Floor galleries, composing a symphonic experience specific to the New Museum.

In his early video works from the late 1990s, Sala used documentary strategies to examine life after communism in his native Albania, observing the role of language and memory in narrating social and political histories. Since the early 2000s, his video works have probed the psychological effects of acoustic experiences, embracing both music and sound as languages capable of conjuring up images, rousing nostalgia, or communicating emotions. In subtle visual narratives, Sala often depicts what appear to be fragments of everyday life, and his intimate observations experiment with fiction to double as enigmatic portraits of society. Unusual locations frame seemingly accidental situations in video works like Long Sorrow (2005), Answer Me (2008), Le Clash (2010), and Tlatelolco Clash (2011). Evoking a sense of suspension through repetition and stasis, Sala composes scenes in which the protagonists appear strangely disconnected from their environments and music resounds as a requiem for the utopian histories that lie dormant in the modernist architecture surrounding them.

In recent works, Sala has interpreted musical compositions in multichannel video and sound installations that emphasize the perception of sound in relation to architectural spaces. This exhibition will include a new spatialization of Sala’s The Present Moment (2014), in which he rearranges Arnold Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4 [Transfigured Night] (1899) to create the sense that individual notes, abstracted from the composition, are traveling freely throughout the gallery before accumulating and playing in repetition as if trapped in a spatial impasse. The exhibition will also include the US premiere of Sala’s striking installation Ravel, Ravel (2013), first exhibited in the French Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, in which two interpretations of Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in D Major (1929–30) are projected simultaneously in an anechoic chamber. Sala rearranged the tempo of each concerto so that they play both in and out of sync to produce a musical echo, generating a paradoxical experience in the sound-absorbing interior of the installation. The dynamics of repetition and reverberation—rhetorical and compositional tropes in Sala’s works—underpin the ideas explored in the exhibition and acknowledge the historical dialogues embedded throughout the artist’s oeuvre.

Anri Sala was born in 1974 in Tirana, Albania, and lives and works in Berlin. He represented France at the 55th Venice Biennale (2013) and has exhibited internationally for many years, with solo shows at Haus der Kunst, Munich (2014); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2012); the Serpentine Gallery, London (2011); the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (2009); the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (2008); and Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, Milan (2005); among other venues. Sala has received the Vincent Award (2014), the 10th Benesse Prize (2013), the Absolut Art Award (2011), and the Young Artist Prize at the Venice Biennale (2001). He has taken part in many group exhibitions and biennials, including the 12th Havana Biennial (2015), Sharjah Biennial 11 (2013), the 9th Gwangju Biennial (2012), dOCUMENTA (13) (2012), the 29th São Paulo Biennial (2010), the 2nd Moscow Biennial of Contemporary Art (2007), and the 4th Berlin Biennial (2006).

Image: Anri Sala, Ravel, Ravel, 2013 (still). 55th Venice Biennale. Anri Sala at the French Pavilion – Two-channel HD video and sixteen-channel sound installation, color; 20:45 min. Courtesy Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris; Marian Goodman Gallery, New York; and Hauser & Wirth/ Copyright the artist

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