artist / participant
Anri Sala. Le Temps coudé
11.10.2019 — 05.01.2020
11.10.2019 — 05.01.2020 Curator Suzanne Cotter, assisted by Sarah Beaumont Locations Level 0 : Grand Hall, Pavillon Henry J. and Erna D. Leir ; Level +1 : East and West galleries Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean presents Le Temps coudé, a major exhibition dedicated to the work of Anri Sala (b. 1974, Tirana). The exhibition brings together a selection of works produced between 2014 and 2019 comprising four installations, two films and works on paper from three different series. In his films and installations, Sala uses sound and music, exploring their relation to image and architecture, history and time. The motif, both visual and musical, is ever-present as are forms of displacement and alteration. Entitled Le Temps coudé, the exhibition refers to the notion of warps or bends in our experience of space and time, borrowing a French phrase for a sudden detour.
Far from being mere accompaniments to the image, sound and music play a key role in Sala’s work. They are employed by the artist for their ability to reveal and “open up” the space of the present. Drawing upon a range of music styles, from classical and free jazz to pop and contemporary music, Sala’s immersive works create an experience that is at once physical, sensorial, subjective and collective. This focus on experience is also found in the way Sala orchestrates the presentation of his works. Each exhibition presents a unique configuration in which film, music, sculpture, drawing and space are conceived as a ‘continuum of presences and flows’, a ‘site of conjunctions and interrelations’ in which the viewer plays an active role. The exhibition, which will be installed across several spaces over two floors of Mudam exemplifies this distinct approach in Sala’s work.
On the ground floor – in the Grand Hall and in the Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Pavilion – two major installations are presented in dialogue with Ieoh Ming Pei’s iconic architectural spaces. The first, All of a Tremble (Delusion/Devolution) (2017), transforms a visual motif into sound, taking the concept of the mechanical music box to ‘play’ a rotogravure printing cylinder – originally used to print wallpaper – as it turns upon a monumental wall.
The Last Resort (2017), an installation suspending 38 snare drums which was originally commissioned by Kaldor Public Art Projects in Sydney, Australia, is reconfigured for Mudam’s Pavilion. This floating musical ensemble offers an interpretation of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto (1791), altered by Sala to be played at a tempo devised according to the log of changing winds recorded during a boat trip from Europe to Australia. The work thus combines classical music with a reference to the journey undertaken by thousands of convicts during the late 18th century and 19th century, expressing the paradox of the so-called Age of Enlightenment.
This interest in the historical dimension of music is found in both installations around which the rest of the exhibition revolves. Displayed in a new configuration, the installation Take Over (2017) juxtaposes two famous hymns, The Internationale (1871/1888) and The Marseillaise (1792), the cultural and political history of which are intertwined. The Present Moment (2014) is an extension of Anri Sala’s research into the relation between space, music and the experience of the present moment based on music notes and motifs inspired by Arnold Schönberg’s Transfigured Night (1899).
These two immersive installations are presented in association with two recent films and a selection of works on paper that each introduce the notion of distortion of time and space. In the film If and Only If (2018), the unexpected presence of a snail on a musician’s bow exquisitely inflects a recitation of Igor Stravinsky’s Elegy for Solo Viola (1944). In Slip of the Line (2018), the intervention of a magician in the production line of the Austrian glass manufactor, Riedel, produces a sinuous alteration. In the series Untitled (Maps/Species) (2018-2019), the shapes of various countries have been altered to echo the 18th century style of engravings and watercolours depicting natural history subjects, thus referring to cartography and the rationalism imposed upon the rest of the world by Europe. Drawings from the series The Present Moment (2014) and Manifestations of motion and affect (2014), use musical notation to create a score for confusion in the first, and to map the movement and tempo of a musical piece in the second.
The exhibition is accompanied by a new publication that includes four essays by the French philosopher and musicologist Peter Szendy on Anri Sala’s work, including a text that has been especially commissioned for the exhibition. Entitled Coudées : Quatre variations sur Anri Sala, the book is designed by the Berlin-based graphic designer Quentin Walesch in close collaboration with Anri Sala and Peter Szendy, and is published by Mudam Luxembourg in partnership with Mousse Publishing.
Anri Sala was born in 1974 in Tirana, Albania. He lives and works in Berlin. Major solo exhibitions of his work have been held at the Castello di Rivoli (2019), the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow (2018), the Museo Tamayo in Mexico (2017), the New Museum in New York (2016), Haus der Kunst in Munich (2014), Centre Pompidou in Paris (2012), the Serpentine Gallery in London (2011), the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami (2008) and Fondazione Nicola Trussardi in Milan (2005). His work has also been presented within many significant group surveys including the 13th Havana Biennial (2015), the 11th Sharjah Biennial (2013), the 9th Gwangju Biennial (2012), the Documenta 13 (2012), the 29th São Paulo Biennial (2010), the 2nd Moscow Biennial (2007) and the 4th Berlin Biennial (2006). He represented France at the 55th Venice Biennial in 2013. Sala received the Vincent Award (2014), the 10th Benesse Prize (2013), the Absolut Art Award (2011) and the Golden Lion for the most promising young artist at the 49th Venice Bienniale (2001).