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The New Museum is presenting Anri Sala’s first major exhibit in the United States. “Anri Sala: Answer Me” is a comprehensive survey of the artists’s work and features several multichannel audio and video installations that unfold across the museum’s three floors, on view now through April 10.
The show features numerous pieces including Dammi I Colori (2003) (featured at the Tate Modern in 2008), as well as Le Clash (2010) and Tlateloco Clash (2011), which were part of the mixed installations that won him the Vincent Award in 2014.
The highly cognitive exhibit highlights the overriding themes of Sala’s life works, especially his focus on the relationships between space, human life, and music. The connection between human touch and melody is emphasized through respective close shots of a piano being played, a vinyl record being stroked, and stirring hands over a musical box. Conversely, he also underscores the lack of human presence across wide shots of vast desolate spaces, paradoxically animated through momentous symphonies in work like Unravel (2013), creating absurd yet highly melancholic sites.
It is across the study and creative showcasing of these relationships through film and other mediums that Sala became, from the late 1990s onwards, one of the most important figures of Albanian contemporary art, providing new modes of examining and experiencing life after communism and more generally the role of language and memory in narrating social and political histories.
Since the early 2000s, his video works have explored the psychological effects of acoustic experiences, embracing both music and sound as languages capable of conjuring up images, rousing nostalgia and communicating emotions. In subtle visual narratives, Sala depicts what appears to be fragments of everyday life, and his intimate observations experiment with fiction to double as enigmatic portraits of society.
The exhibition is on view from through April 10, and is curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Margot Norton, and Natalie Bell.