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Anri Sala's First Solo Exhibition in Canada Opens at the Musée d'art Contemporain de Montreal

Anri Sala, Image tirée de Answer Me, 2008/Film still from Answer Me, 2008. Vidéogramme haute définition, son stéréo/HD video, stereo sound 3/6, 4 min 51 sec. Collection Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.

MONTREAL.- An exhibition that can be viewed like a single work of art: that is what visitors will experience at the MAC in this presentation of works by Anri Sala, the artist’s first solo exhibition in Canada, and his largest in North America. The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal presents Anri Sala from February 3 to April 25, 2011.

A unique opportunity to discover the remarkable art of Anri Sala, the exhibition comprises a dozen recent major works, including videos, photographs, a sculpture and an installation created for the Musée.

Visitors move seamlessly through the show as if it were a single piece, for the artist considers the process of exhibiting his works as important as that of producing them. Sala reconfigures the space in an innovative way to establish new relationships between the pieces. The staggered screening of the films, the quality of the light, the way the images are projected and the sound of the ten snare drums (Doldrums, 2008) dispersed throughout the galleries create a magical atmosphere. Just as one film ends, another begins, requiring visitors to reorient themselves according to the rhythm of the projections and the beat of the drums.

The exhibition opens with a new configuration of Purchase Not by Moonlight (2008), consisting of Doldrums (2008), Title Suspended (Sky Blue) (2008), After Three Minutes (2007), Time After Time (2003) and Answer Me (2008), a brilliant work that was recently acquired by the Musée. Shot in a former surveillance tower in Berlin, inside a geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller, Answer Me depicts the end of a relationship through a kind of dialogue of the deaf.

The MAC show reflects the growing importance Sala attaches to sound and to recasting its relationship with the image. Rather than using sound to produce a specific effect, as in the movies, he sets out to capture the effect of space on the production of sound. Several of his films have consequently been shot in places that generate very particular sonic experiences, such as the echo in Answer Me, while others record live performances that Sala himself has orchestrated. The exhibition concludes with Long Sorrow (2005)¾featuring jazz musician Jemeel Moondoc improvising on the saxophone while hanging out of a window¾alternating with Le Clash (2010), which reinterprets Should I Stay or Should I Go by the punk rock group The Clash, played here on a barrel organ and a music box. The remarkable installation Score (2011) then transposes the musical atmosphere of Le Clash into a musical score etched on the museum walls.

The show also includes Inversion – Creating Space Where There Appears To Be None (2010), a collaborative piece produced with Edi Rama, artist and mayor of Tirana, which recalls the moving yet unflinching look that Sala’s early works took at the major upheavals in Eastern Europe.

Anri Sala
Anri Sala was born in 1974 in Tirana, Albania. He belongs to the last generation of artists that emerged under the country’s communist regime, and the first to come into contact with the world of Western and international art. His first videos, from the late 1990s, refer to the ideology imposed on his country and the utopian role played by art in ushering in a new social vision. This period is represented here by Intervista (1998) and Dammi i Colori (2003), which will be screened in the video room.

After studying at the Albanian Academy of Arts in Tirana (1992-1996), Sala moved to France, where he was enrolled at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris (1996-1998) and the Le Fresnoy studio in Tourcoing (1998-2000). He has been active on the international scene for some fifteen years now. His work has been selected for numerous biennials, including those in Berlin (2001, 2006), Moscow (2007), São Paulo (2002, 2010), Sydney (2006) and Venice (1999, 2001, 2003), and he has had major solo exhibitions at the Kunsthalle Wien (2003), the Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris (2004), and the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami and the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati (2008-2009), among others. His works are in the collections of such prestigious institutions as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pinakothek der Moderne (Munich), MoMA (New York), the Centre Pompidou (Paris) and MUSAC (León). Sala currently lives and works in Berlin, and is represented by the Marian Goodman Gallery in New York, Hauser & Wirth in Zurich and London, and Galerie Chantal Crousel in Paris.

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