Anri Sala

Anri Sala

DAMMI I COLORI
2003
Video, stereo sound
15’ 25’’
Courtesy the artist and Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris; Marian Goodman Gallery, New York, Hauser & Wirth Zürich London; Johnen/Schöttle, Berlin, Cologne, Munich


ANRI SALA

In 2000, the artist Edi Rama, who for years had lived with Anri Sala in exile in Paris, was elected mayor of the city of Tirana, the Albanian capital. At the very beginning of his term in office, Rama embarked on a wide-scale transformation of the city, repainting the deteriorating facades of post-communist buildings with bright colors and irregular shapes, breaking up the rigid grid-based geometries of the modernist architecture. This formed part of Rama’s great project for the city’s revival, a project which anticipated the building of new roads, schools and parks, the installation of new electric and telephone lines, and an intensified clamp-down on prostitution and drug-dealing.

The years of political activity of Edi Rama—who survived two assassination attempts during his mandate—addressed the issue of the city as a social being and a place of community discussion, in a dialogue that became a sign of democracy contrasting with Albania’s political past.

The case of Tirana becomes the manifesto of an idea of art seen as a tool for social renovation, going beyond mere “beautification”, beyond a superficial aestheticization of the city. Its value lies in its having liberated new democratic energies of actions and reactions in a collective public debate, re-presenting an idea of res publica and political praxis. The inhabitants of Tirana were forced to ask themselves: “what do these colors produce in our life?” Beauty, art, and the construction of the city and its rules lost their connotation as abstract concepts and became real facts that each individual had to confront in daily life.

The focus of the video is Tirana, although it could be any city in the world. The footage underlines the image of a city under construction, a work in progress. In the night sequences, anonymous streets float by, the vivid colors of the buildings appearing and then fading in front of the car headlamps, in stark contrast with the darkness of the city. Rama’s voice emerges from a deep silence, interrupted only by a hint of the romanza Recondita armonia (whose first verse is “Dammi i colori…”) from the opera Tosca by Giacomo Puccini.

DAMMI I COLORI is more the testimony of an actual experience in space and time than an abstract reflection. As Sala himself says, “An artist must show the things that are happening around him, at the very time they are taking place. He must contribute to creating a full awareness of the time in which he is living.”

Anri Sala (1974, Tirana, Albania; lives and works in Berlin) works with film, photographs, video and acoustic installations, transforming specific observations and situations into poetically infused narratives relating to contemporary social, cultural and political themes. He received his BA in Painting from the Academy of Arts in Tirana, then moved to France where he studied video at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and pursued postgraduate studies in film directing at Le Fresnoy, Studio National des Arts Contemporains, Tourcoing. Winner of the Young Artist Prize at the 2001 Biennale di Venezia, he has been selected to present his work in the French Pavilion at 2013 edition of the Biennale. Recent notable solo exhibitions include: (2013) Anri Sala & Edi Rama: Creating Space Where There Happens to Be None, Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, Munich, Germany; (2012) Centre Pompidou, Paris; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen; Anri Sala: Two Films, Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit, Michigan; (2011) Serpentine Gallery, London; Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris; Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, Québec; The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan; (2009)  Marian Goodman Gallery, New York; Johnen Galerie, Berlin. A selection of recent group exhibitions include: (2013) One on One, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; (2012) x_sound : John Cage, Nam June Paik  and After, Nam June Paik Art Center, Seoul, South Korea; One Sixth of the Earth. Ecologies of Image, MUSAC, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, León, Spain; Mardin Biennal, Mardin, Turkey; 9th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea; The Lookout, National Art School, Sydney, Australia; Paroles des images, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Italy; Erinnerungsräume, Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf, Germany; Static Movement, Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany; (2011) Architektonika, Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin; Animal Kingdom – There Was An Old Lady Who…, Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin; Chamber of Lights, Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi, Łodź, Poland.



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