Pavilion of France: 55th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia
Anri Sala: Ravel Ravel Unravel
1 June - 24 November 2013
From the Press Release
Internationally acclaimed French-Albanian artist Anri Sala will represent France at the 55th International Exhibition ‘ La Biennale di Venezia. Sala’s project, entitled Ravel Ravel Unravel (2013) and curated by Christine Macel, Chief Curator at Centre Pompeidou-MNAM, has been conceived for the German Pavilion space. The exchange of the German and French pavilions is part of an agreement marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Elysée Treaty and celebrating Franco-German friendship.
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 a piano concerto for the left hand which is at the heart of Anri Sala’s project. Occupying the central space of the German Pavilion, the first of two works, entitled Ravel Ravel, consists of two films, each focused on the left hand of a famous pianist: Louis Lortie and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet. Both of these performers were invited by Anri Sala to perform Ravel’s Concerto, accompanied by the Orchestre National de France.
At the centre of Anri Sala’s project is the interpretation of the same piece of music by these two musicians. As the artist explains ‘each film is focused on the choreography of the left hand encompassing the entirety of the keyboard, while the right hand remains still.’ These two films are projected simultaneously in semi-anechoic chambers creating the perception of a musical ‘race’, owing to the shift between the tempi. Anri Sala continues: ‘My intention, is to make a space resound consecutively to the temporal gap between the two performances; to paradoxically create a ‘different’ space in an environment conceived to annihilate the feeling of space (by suppressing echoes)’
In the adjacent rooms, two other films are presented under the single title Unravel. Chloe, a DJ, is filmed alone, mixing each of the two interpretations and trying to unite the two versions of the Concerto through her unique interpretation. In these films, Anri Sala continues his exploration of space and sound, as well as the silent language of the body. Christine Macel, the curator of the French Pavilion, observes: ‘He offers an experience about difference and sameness, in an ambitious piece of work which takes his investigations into sound spatialisation one step further. The work engages with the viewer both mentally as well as physically, creating a powerful physical and emotional experience, enclosing the audience in the music.’