This year, Anri Sala was chosen to represent France in the Venice Biennale with Christine Macel, chief curator at the Musée National d’Art Moderne at the Centre Pompidou as his curator. Perhaps best known for his video art, Sala has exhibited all over the world, receiving numerous awards, including the Young Artist Prize at the 49th Venice Biennale.
Sala’s exhibit at the 55th Venice Biennale, entitled “Ravel Ravel Unravel,” focuses on Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand (1929-30). The title of the exhibit cleverly plays on the composer’s name as well as the verb “to rave.” The exhibit itself consists of a series of films.
“Ravel Ravel” shows Louis Lortie and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, two celebrated classical pianists, performing Ravel’s concerto. Projected upon the walls, the films evoke the silent language of the body. In the two adjacent rooms, viewers will see videos of DJ Chloë Thévenin mixing the two performances together on a turntable.
The location or “Ravel Ravel Unravel” was a bit unique, too. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty and Franco-German friendship, the two countries have, for the first time in Venice Biennale history, switched their pavilions. With an echo of nearly nine seconds, the German Pavilion provided challenging, yet interesting acoustics for Sala. He said of the exhibition, “My intention is to make a space resound consecutively to the temporal gap between the two performances; to paradoxically create a ‘different’ space in an environment conceived to annihilate the feeling of space (by suppressing echoes).”