A MEETING WITH ANRI SALA - CRASH Magazine



ART

A MEETING WITH ANRI SALA

By Crash redaction

For his latest exhibition entitled Time No Longer, Anri Sala has taken over the Bourse de Commerce, creating an immersive dispersion of some of his most iconic videos including title piece, Time No Longer (2021) which is projected onto a vast, curved screen inside the concrete Rotunda designed by the architect Tadao Ando. Exploring the notion of creation in captivity the film draws its inspiration from Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, and the tragic story of the Afro-American astronaut and accomplished saxophonist, Ronald McNair. The Albania-born artist, who gained his qualifications in France, evokes here the obsessions that haunt his work. 

AL WAS THE PIECE TIME NO LONGER PRODUCED EXCLUSIVELY FOR THE BOURSE DE COMMERCE?

AS No, I originally designed it in 2021 for a project at the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern in Houston, Texas. But it was shown in a very different way. I always try to have my work interact with the spatial and contextual qualities of the exhibition space. In this case, the circularity of the Rotunda and the presence of a cupola suggested a relationship of scale with the convolutions of the turntable’s spatial choreography, a relationship that seemed likely to create an interesting sensation, like a sense of uneasiness in the gut, the stomach.

LIKE THE WAY THE AUDIENCE MAY FEEL NAUSEOUS OR OVERWHELMED WHILE LOOKING AT THE SPACE?

AS I always try to make sure that the artistic experience is not just cerebral, so that the piece can also resonate with the body.

AL FIRST YOU DID THE TIME NO LONGER VIDEO. BUT HERE, FOR THE ROTUNDA OF THE BOURSE DE COMMERCE, YOU HAD A RARE OPPORTU- NITY TO SCREEN THE VIDEO IN A SPECIAL WAY WITH THE LED SCREEN.

AS It’s an exceptional opportunity to discover the piece under a cupola, as if Time No Longer had landed in the middle of the Rotunda, like a body arriving from a place far, far away. But I also tried to place the film in dialogue with the marbled canvas dating back to 1899, which is present under the cupola and displays French advertising campaigns from the era. I had to find the right scale so that Time No Longer would take on the aspect of an odyssey or a contemporary frieze. A partially cylindrical frieze, obviously, because the screen does not cover the entire circularity of the rotunda. I also wanted to underline what world exploration and space exploration have in common in order to offer a new kind of space-time.

AL WHAT WAS IT LIKE MAKING THE VIDEO BEFOREHAND? AS A VIEWER, THE SEQUENCE CAN SEEM RELATIVELY EASY TO CONCEIVE, BUT I AM NOT SO SURE…

AS It’s true that it’s rather complex. But in a way, that’s also the point: to create the impression of simplicity while metabolizing the complexity through the artistic process. In itself, Time No Longer could theoretically have been filmed in the International Space Station. Except that such a project would have been much more expensive and require certifications that are very hard to obtain. All these variables made such an approach impossible. So the video is done in computer generated images. The whole thing is virtual. The only difference is that the behavior of the turntable, its revolutions when it floats in weightlessness, as well as the movement of the sapphire are based on mathematical models identical to what would have really happened if the turntable had been in the Space Station. We are, in fact, able today to simulate very accurately the behavior of objects in a given physical condition. For me, this is important because in some sense the weightlessness acts as a conductor that directs and decides the moments of contact and lifting of the sapphire, like a ghost arm. Periods of letting go, of losing control, alternate with a desire to return to the music by regaining control. 

Discover the full interview out now in Crash 98, Sans Concession… available at the link below on the Crash store.

store.crash.fr.fr

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