kurimanzutto is pleased to announce its first exhibition of Anri Sala’s work, opening on Saturday, February 19, and closing on March 19, 2011.
Anri Sala is fascinated with repetition—like an echo that becomes a dynamic concept and constructs itself anew in other moments and spaces.
Entering the gallery, the public becomes part of this echo: the invitation contains a punch card that triggers the playing of four seconds of The Clash song Should I Stay or Should I Go. As these punch cards are randomly inserted into an organ, an entirely new piece is constructed; this piece also echoes Le Clash, a video presented in the gallery’s main space.
In the Le Clash video, the well-known punk-rock tune Should I Stay or Should I Go plays inside an abandoned concert hall. In this piece, the lever on a barrel organ turns slowly while two musicians walk around the building, as the organ’s sound synchs with the tune generating an echo. This echo is not a mere repetition of the melody, but rather a new tune that transforms and changes what we’re hearing. A man wanders around the same space with a shoebox under his arm; he turns a small lever that plays, note by note, a different version of the same song. This video adapts the musical ambiance of a punk-rock band to the walls of a gallery.
A modified reproduction of a window at the Central Library of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México (UNAM) stands in front of the projection of Le Clash. The window contains a music box, whose lever viewers can wind to add their own echo to the work. At the same time, the original window at the university library also has a music box that creates an echo in terms of both space and sound between the two sites.
A building adjoining the gallery houses a fan used in the performance 5 Flutterbyes—presented in the Il tempo del Postino group show at the Manchester International Festival in 2007—with a recording of the aria Vogliatemi bene, un bene piccolino, the first act of Giacomo Puccini’s opera Madama Butterfly. In 5 Flutterbyes, this aria is sung by not just one but five sopranos personifying Madam Butterfly: while one sings, the others mime; when one stops, another takes up the tune, so all the sopranos take turns singing. They all echo the same character in different voices.
Echoing voices are also heard in Inversion—Creating Space Where There Appears to Be None, a piece Sala made in collaboration with Edi Rama, the mayor of Tirana, Albania. It consists of a series of drawings made by them both, and the recording of a conversation between Edi Rama, Michael Fried, Philippe Parreno, Marcus Steinweg and Erion Veliaj. These conversations will be included in a catalogue with Spanish translations and an introduction by Anri Sala.
Anri Sala (Albania, 1974) studied at the National Arts Academy in Tirana; the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris; and at Le Fresnoy, Studio National des Arts Contemporains in Tourcoing.
Sala has shown his work at various international venues, including the Montreal Contemporary Art Museum (2011); the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami, and the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati (2008–2009); the Tate Gallery in London (2004); ARC, Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris (2004); Kunsthalle Wien (2003); the Dallas Museum of Art (2002); and Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2002). His work has also been exhibited at several biennales, including Berlin (2001, 2006), Moscow (2007), Sao Paulo (2002, 2010), Sydney (2006) and Venice (1999, 2001, 2003). Pieces of his form part of the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, the New York MoMA, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the MUSAC in León, Spain. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Young Artist Prize at the 49th Venice Biennale (2001), Prix Gilles Dusein, Paris (2000), and Best Documentary Film Award at Filmfest, Tirana (2000) and at the Santiago de Compostela International Documentary Film Festival (1999).
He lives and works in Berlin.