Today music is a regular feature of our everyday life. We listen to music of our choice with or without earphones, as accompaniment to work, jogging or as part of the aural backdrop in public space, in shops and on the street. Music can exclude other sounds, set the pace or put us in a particular mood.
Albanian-born artist Anri Sala (b. 1974) works with film. He is aware of the influence of music on people, and he draws on this frequently in his work. Music can subdue other sounds, set the pace or put us in a particular mood. Health research and various branches of science study the significance of music—and so do some artists. Anri Sala knows what music can do to a narrative and to us: that music and sound waves affect us physically. The exhibition includes four films, ranging musically from free improvisation to classical and popular music.
The experience of the exhibition’s film works is a physical one. In the work Long Sorrow, an evocative saxophone solo envelopes the viewer. In 1395 Days without Red, the orchestra’s Tchaikovsky symphony intensifies the onscreen drama experienced by a woman on her perilous journey through the streets of war-torn Sarajevo and transports the observer to a state of agonizing tension. In two other films, the drum is the musical motif of choice. After 3 Minutes is a silent film and focuses on the visualization of rhythm and temporal displacements. Answer Me shows a dialogue between a woman and a man in which the women speaks with words and the man communicates with drumbeats.
Anri Sala is also aware of the structuring qualities of music, not only in music itself, but also in the elements indirectly related to sound. Tempo and measure, rhythm and repetition, pauses and silence—these are musical elements that concern the artist and which are instrumental in his works, both visually and aurally.
The use of music opens up a universe of understanding free of linguistic limitations. Sala is aware of the influence of music on people, and he draws on this frequently in his work. He knows what music can do to us. And to a narrative – our own or the one he presents. He knows that we will sense something, feel something when the music is turned up.He knows that music is physical and that sound waves affect us physically – we can’t turn away or shut them out. That is why Sala says quite accurately that his films are like sculptures.
Thematically, Anri Sala’s works encompass both political awareness and an interest in human relations, and you always feel that the material content of his works is rooted in personal experience – social, political or private, although it is only felt as a subtle background. A physical experience that makes us feel the emotions lived out by the saxophonist in Long Sorrow or the intense drama experienced by the woman in 1395 Days without Red on her way through the streets of Sarajevo. The exhibition presents four films that range musically from jazz improvisation to popular music and classical music.
The saxophonist’s improvisation, the rehearsal of the symphony orchestra, the response of the drummer, etc. But music also has a structuring function. In several of Sala’s works we experience a more formal approach to the use of music, where the works relate to the rhythm or temporal structuring also found in music: tempo, measure, repetition, rhythm, but also silence and the pause, are all musical elements that concern the artist and hold both visual and aural meaning.
Anri Sala app for free download
The Louisiana Museum in Denmark has produced an iPad app in conjunction with the Anri Sala solo show. The app is available as a free download from the App Store and contains footage from the works by the Albanian artist, as well as texts by Michael Fried, Hans Ulrich Obrist & Julia Peyton-Jones, Jessica Morgan and Sanne Krogh Groth, and short introductions to each work by curator Mette Marcus. Edited by Michael Juul Holm. Search for Louisiana Museum or Anri Sala in the App Store or follow this link.
The app is optimized for IOS 6.