Publication to accompany Anri Sala’s Ravel Ravel Unravel

Publication to accompany Anri Sala’s Ravel Ravel Unravel

Institut français

Anri Sala, Ravel Ravel Unravel, 2013. Bilingual English/French edition, Format: 17 x 2.5 cm, 160 pages, canvas cover in coloured linen with a transparent, silkscreen-printed dust jacket.

August 12, 2013

Anri Sala
Ravel Ravel Unravel
until 24 November 2013

French Pavilion
Giardini of the 55th International Art Exhibition
La Biennale di Venezia

frenchpavilion [​at​]

Anri Sala’s project for the French Pavilion, titled Ravel Ravel Unravel (2013), has been conceived for the space of the German Pavilion, where it is exceptionally being exhibited on the occasion of the 55th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.

The title of the piece is a subtle play on words based on the verb to ravel and its opposite, to unravel, as well as a reference to the famous French composer Maurice Ravel, who in 1930 composed the Concerto in D for the Left Hand, which is at the heart of Anri Sala’s project.

A book has been conceived by Anri Sala and Christine Macel to accompany this project. It is first and foremost intended to be a research tool, and to provide the reader with an entry point to the issues that the artist was exploring in the process of creating Ravel Ravel Unravel.

A range of different texts offer a variety of perspectives, which complement and enter into dialogue with each other in order to convey the complexity of the artistic project: the book includes the historic statements of Maurice Ravel, Paul Wittgenstein (for whom Ravel composed the concerto) and Marguerite Long (a famous pianist and friend of Ravel’s), texts taken from the novels of Alexander Waugh (a Wittgenstein specialist) and of Jean Échenoz (extracts of his novel Ravel), texts about John Cage and the anechoic chambers by Dana Samuel or about the musical technique of the left hand by Hans Brofeldt, and finally essays by Laurent Pfister (on issues of copyright and authorship), by Peter Szendy (a musicologist and philosopher) and by Christine Macel (curator of the French Pavilion).

The book’s illustrations—archive images as well as preparatory drawings by the artist and images from his films—provide vibrant visual and temporal echoes to the texts.

Quentin Walesch’s design for the book conveys this sense of movement, of a discrepancy between the musical tempi: the pages are given a sense of rhythm by areas of vertical black vibrations; the inner fold of the book is transferred in a new position across the pages of each spread, whilst the fore edge slides from the back to the front cover.

This book is just as much an informative work as an artist’s book, and offers both an immersion into the eventful story of a piece of music and into Anri Sala’s mind as he conceives a work of art and develops its main themes and principles.

The book Ravel Ravel Unravel is being co-edited by the Institut français, Manuela Editions and the Centre national des arts plastiques (CNAP), with the support of the Fundación/Colección Jumex (Mexico) and of the Colección Isabel y Agustín Coppel (Mexico).

The French pavilion is commissioned by the Institut français and Centre National des Arts Plastiques. The project Ravel Ravel Unravel has received production support of the Galerie Chantal Crousel (Paris), Marian Goodman Gallery (New York), Hauser & Wirth (Zurich / London), kurimanzutto (Mexico) and Radio France (Paris); In partnership with the LUMA Foundation (Zurich) and the Société des Amis du Musée national d’art moderne – Centre Pompidou (Paris); with kind support from the Collección Isabel y Agustín Coppel (Mexico), the Fundación Jumex (Mexico), and the Ishikawa Collection (Okayama); and the participation of the DICRÉAM (CNC Paris), the SACEM and Thello.


Institut français: publication to accompany Anri Sala's Ravel Ravel Unravel
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Institut français
August 12, 2013

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