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EXHIBITIONS

Anri Sala at Museo Tamayo, Mexico City

 Anri Sala is one of the most influential artists in contemporary culture. His work inverts the conventions of traditional cinema, in which the moving image is the main element, to incorporate music, sound and architecture in the same hierarchy of meaning, with the aim of generating an immersive experience in the visitor.

For his exhibition at the Museo Tamayo, Sala (Tirana, Albania, 1974) demonstrates these interests through works in which sound defines both the composition of the images projected and the design of the space they occupy. Although they respond to different moments in the artist’s career, the seven installations included (five video installations and two installations) can be perceived as a single, large-scale installation in which the relationship between them is marked by the geographical, political or musical space to which each piece refers.

The main thread that connect the artworks is the approach to some anthems that have been defined as such according to certain historical, social and subjective conditions. Take Over (La Marseillaise) (2017)—the French national anthem whose original lyrics, written in 1972, was linked to the French Revolution—and Take Over (L’Internationale) (2017)—the most famous song of the workers’ movement, and which was originally adapted to the music of “La Marseillaise”—are presented to make the point that the same melody was used as a symbol for two different concepts of nation. Le Clash (2011) and Tlatelolco Clash (2011) take the iconic track “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by English band The Clash, which represents the punk movement and was a rallying cry for awareness and social uprising against the regulations that prevailed in the 1970s. In Ravel Ravel (2013) and Unravel (2013), “Concert for the Left Hand” by Maurice Ravel evokes the sufferings of the First World War, after having been commissioned by a pianist who lost his left hand on the Austrian front.

A characteristic of the exhibition is that the five video installations are projected simultaneously in two parts. To achieve this, Sala took into account the different architectural rhythms of the Museo Tamayo as if it were the structure of a song. In this way, the design of the museum’s galleries guides the trajectory of visitors in a natural, non-determined flow, where times and space, both of the exhibition and the projections, coincide with the experience that one has of the sound and images.

On the other hand, the work Them Apples (2017) is a series of drawings done from photographs of apples bitten by 44 people. The project is the result of a workshop Sala organized in Berlin with refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, who agreed to make a teeth mark in the apples which were later photographed and finally drawn with ink on paper, allowing the ink to dry and then removing layers to outline edges and shadows. The drawings are set out according to the musical score of the national anthem of Germany, in a clear allusion to the controversial immigration policies of that country. Finally, Bridges in the Doldrums (2016) refers to interludes (bridges) in pop, jazz and folk from different countries and eras.

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at Museo Tamayo, Mexico City
until 6 February 2018

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