February 3, 2016 - New Museum - Anri Sala: Answer Me
February 3, 2016

New Museum

Anri Sala, Ravel Ravel, 2013. Installation view, Ravel Ravel Unravel, French Pavilion, 55th Venice Biennale. Photo: Marc Domage.

Anri Sala: Answer Me
February 3–April 10, 2016

New Museum
235 Bowery
New York, NY 10002


Anri Sala: Answer Me
February 3–April 10, 2016

New Museum
235 Bowery
New York, NY 10002


In February 2016, the New Museum presents a major exhibition of the work of Anri Sala (b. 1974), one of the most acclaimed artists to emerge in recent decades. Though Sala has exhibited internationally since the late 1990s, Anri Sala: Answer Me marks the most comprehensive survey of his work in the United States to date. Highlighting Sala’s continuing interest in how sound and music can engage architecture and history, the exhibition features extensive multichannel audio and video installations that unfold across the Second, Third, and Fourth Floor galleries, composing a symphonic experience specific to the New Museum.

The exhibition is on view from February 3 through April 10, 2016, and is curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Artistic Director; Margot Norton, Associate Curator; and Natalie Bell, Assistant Curator.

In his early video works from the late 1990s, Sala used documentary strategies to examine life after communism in his native Albania, observing the role of language and memory in narrating social and political histories. Since the early 2000s, his video works have probed the psychological effects of acoustic experiences, embracing both music and sound as languages capable of conjuring up images, rousing nostalgia, and communicating emotions. In subtle visual narratives, Sala often depicts what appear to be fragments of everyday life, and his intimate observations experiment with fiction to double as enigmatic portraits of society.

Since the mid-2000s, Sala’s works have featured musicians in both films and live performances: In films such as Long Sorrow (2005) and Answer Me (2008), musicians intone requiems for the failed histories dormant in the architecture surrounding them. In Le Clash (2010) and Tlatelolco Clash (2011), organ-grinders stroll through deserted streets, amplifying a sense of alienation and uncertainty with their unexpected interpretations of a familiar song. The exhibition also includes a recurring live performance entitled 3-2-1 (2011/16), in which saxophonist André Vida improvises alongside musician Jemeel Moondoc’s recorded lamentation in Long Sorrow, expanding on the dynamics of free jazz in a duet that changes with each recital. Throughout these works, music resounds as both a cathartic release and an incantation that evokes historical chapters that are neither distant nor closed.

In recent works, Sala has interpreted musical compositions in multichannel video and sound installations that emphasize the perception of sound in relation to architectural spaces. This exhibition features a new spatialization of Sala’s The Present Moment (in B-flat) (2014) and The Present Moment (in D) (2014), in which the artist rearranges Arnold Schoenberg’s “Verklärte Nacht” [Transfigured Night] (1899) to create the sense that individual notes, abstracted from the composition, travel freely throughout the gallery before accumulating and playing in repetition as if trapped in a spatial impasse. The exhibition also includes the US premiere of Sala’s striking installation Ravel Ravel Unravel (2013), first exhibited at the 55th Venice Biennale, where Sala represented France. In Ravel Ravel (2013), two interpretations of Maurice Ravel’s “Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in D-major” (1929–30) are projected simultaneously in a semi-anechoic chamber, a space designed to absorb sound. Sala recomposed the tempo of the concerto for each pianist so that the two performances progress in and out of sync to produce the perception of musical echoes—a paradoxical experience in a space in which actual echoes are impossible. The dynamics of repetition and reverberation—rhetorical and compositional tropes in Sala’s works—underpin the ideas explored in the exhibition and enrich the historical dialogues embedded throughout the artist’s oeuvre.

Related programs

Film screenings: Intervista (Finding the Words) (1998) and Nocturnes (1999)
Wednesdays, 11am–6pm

Anri Sala in Conversation with Massimiliano Gioni
Thursday February 4, 7pm  

Panel: Between Dog and Wolf: On Sight and Sound in Space
Thursday March 24, 7pm

Outside the Box gallery talks
Select Thursdays, 3:30pm

Please visit newmuseum.org for a full schedule of related programs.

About Anri Sala
Anri Sala was born in 1974 in Tirana, Albania, and lives and works in Berlin. He has exhibited internationally for many years, with solo shows at Haus der Kunst, Munich (2014); the 55th Venice Biennale (2013); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2012); the Serpentine Gallery, London (2011); the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (2009); the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (2008); and Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, Milan (2005); among other venues. Sala has received the Vincent Award (2014), the 10th Benesse Prize (2013), the Absolut Art Award (2011), and the Young Artist Prize at the Venice Biennale (2001). He has taken part in many group exhibitions and biennials, including the 12th Havana Biennial (2015), the Sharjah Biennial 11 (2013), the 9th Gwangju Biennial (2012), dOCUMENTA (13) (2012), the 29th São Paulo Biennial (2010), the 2nd Moscow Biennial of Contemporary Art (2007), and the 4th Berlin Biennial (2006).

Anri Sala: Answer Me is made possible by the lead support of Lonti Ebers and Bruce Flatt and Maja Hoffmann / LUMA Foundation.

Major support is provided by Maria de Jesus Rendeiro and João Oliveira Rendeiro.

Performance support is provided by V-A-C Foundation.

Additional support is provided by Institut Français.

Special thanks to Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris; Marian Goodman Gallery; and Hauser & Wirth.

Additional thanks to Galleria Alfonso Artiaco, Naples; kurimanzutto, Mexico City; and Esther Schipper, Berlin.

The accompanying exhibition publication is made possible, in part, by the J. McSweeney and G. Mills Publications Fund at the New Museum.

Media partner: artnet

Also on view
Pia Camil: A Pot for a Latch
Through April 17, 2016
Lobby gallery

Cheryl Donegan: Scenes + Commercials
Through April 10, 2016
Fifth floor

About New Museum
The New Museum is the only museum in New York City exclusively devoted to contemporary art. Founded in 1977, the New Museum is a center for exhibitions, information, and documentation about living artists from around the world. From its beginnings as a one-room office on Hudson Street to the inauguration of its first freestanding building on the Bowery designed by SANAA in 2007, the New Museum continues to be a place of experimentation and a hub of new art and new ideas. For more information, please visit newmuseum.org.

New Museum
Share - Anri Sala: Answer Me
  • Share