IMS presents large solo exhibition by Albanian artist Anri Sala (Tirana, 1974): “O momento presente” is the first major presentation in Brazil by one of the most important figures in the contemporary international art scene. This project is comprised of two exhibitions at the Instituto Moreira Salles, the first of which opens at the IMS headquarters in Rio de Janeiro on September 10th at 5 PM with a conversation between the artist and curator Heloisa Espada. The second exhibition will be held at the new IMS headquarters on Avenida Paulista in the second half of 2017.
The two exhibits – featuring distinct works, as they were developed in dialogue with the characteristics of each space – convey the political and, at the same time, sensitive dimension of Anri Sala’s work through installations, videos, photography and objects. On the one hand, spectators are led to critically evaluate the present moment from a historical point of view; on the other, they are sensorially impacted by the sound. The exhibitions contain works from different phases, but focus mainly on audio and video installations like “Long Sorrow” (2005), “Answer Me” (2008), “Le Clash” (2010) and “Tlatelolco Clash” (2011).
At the IMS headquarters in Rio, Anri Sala invades the rooms and gardens of ambassador Walther Moreira Salles’s former residence with improvised, dissonant music. The focus of the exhibition in Rio de Janeiro is the dialogue between the works in the room and the modernist architecture of the house designed by Olavo Redig Campos in 1951. There, the artist enhances the public’s experience of the space, proposing a new form of circulation, blocking the usual passageways and inducing the visitor to resort to lesser-traveled outdoor areas. In an even more direct intervention, he replaced one of the windows that open onto the house’s internal patio with the work “No Windows No Cry” (Olavo Redig Campos) (2016).
Another highlight is the audio installation “Bridges in the Doldrums” (2016), created specifically for this exhibition. Yet again in direct relation with the architecture, the work occupies the tiled room inside the house and the cobogó-paneled veranda located outside. The two settings are separated by a closed glass door so that they are visually accessible but acoustically isolated from one another. To get to the cobogó veranda, one needs to walk around the house’s external area. “Bridges in the Doldrums” is part of a series of installations begun in 2005, with percussion instruments that explore the notion of simultaneousness and overlapping through the manipulation of sound waves.
The country’s colonial past and its African roots led Anri Sala to also produce a new version of the video Làk-kat, filmed in Senegal in 2009, for the current exhibition in Brazil. After creating “Làk-kat 2.0 (British/American)” (2015), in which the same footage is played simultaneously on two screens, one with subtitles in British English, the other in American English, the artist now presents Brazil with the video installation “Làk-kat 3.0 (Brazilian Portuguese/Portuguese/Angolan Portuguese)” (2016), comprised of three screens featuring subtitles according to those listed work’s title. In addition to addressing power relationships through the impossibility of translating some words in Wolof (the original language of the region that is modern-day Senegal), the video attempts to approximate typical idiomatic expressions from Brazil, Portugal and Angola. As such, to produce this new version, Anri Sala worked in collaboration Brazilian writer Noemi Jaffe, Angolan writer Ondjaki and Portuguese writer José Luís Peixoto.
While concentrating mainly on his work in which investigations in sound play a central role, “Anri Sala: o momento presente” also features “Intervista: Finding the Words” (1998), the video for which the artist first became known, created as his graduation film while studying video at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs de Paris. The work remains current and relevant as it condenses a number of aspects that persist in Sala’s art to this day: an obsession with absence and lacking, a capacity to extract meaning from what is unsaid and the decision to address history based on ambiguous narratives.