anri sala: french pavilion at venice art biennale 2013 anri sala: french pavilion at venice art biennale 2013
aug 26, 2013

anri sala: french pavilion at venice art biennale 2013

anri sala: french pavilion at venice art biennale 2013
anri sala
ravel ravel unravel, 2013
french pavilion at the 55th international art exhibition, venice art biennale 2013
image © marc domage

 

 

 

at the heart of anri sala’s ‘ravel ravel unravel’, are the performances of a single piece of music, that of french composer maurice ravel’s 1930 ‘concerto in D for the left hand’. representing france at the 2013 venice art biennale–on this occasion the france and germany have decided to trade national pavilion’s as their exhibiting venue–sala takes over the rooms of what is normally germany’s venue, with his three-fold narration. the name of the work is a subtle play on words that is based on the verb ‘ravel’, in conjunction with its opposite ‘unravel’, which purposefully also references the composer whose music is at the centre of it all. 

 

 


‘ravel ravel’ is projected within a semi-anechoic chamber
image © designboom

 

 

 

the multi-layered piece is divided into two parts: ‘ravel ravel’ and ‘unravel’.

 

‘ravel ravel’ is comprised of two films. each screen is focused on the left hand of a famous pianist: louis lortie and jean-efflam bavouzet. in this segment of the installation, sala presents the two musicians each playing ravel’s ‘concerto in D for the left hand’, accompanied by the orchestre national de france that is conducted by didier benetti. ‘each film is focused on the choreography of the left hand encompassing the entirety of the keyboard, while the right hand remains still,’ says the artist.

 

the two moving pictures run simultaneously within a semi-anechoic chamber, however the difference in tempo at which lortie and bavouzet play the score, results in a musical echo, almost like an affect of tempo rubato (robbed time). it is a result of sound designer olivier goinard’s sound spatialisation, that the visualization and sound within the space almost devoid of any noise, creates the impression of a musical ‘race’ as a result of the time discrepancies between the two performances–all orchestrated beforehand by anri sala, with composer and conductor ari benjamin meyers.

 

my intention, is to make a space resound consecutively to the temporal gap between the two performances; to paradoxically create an ‘other’ space in an environment conceived to annihilate he sense of space (by suppressing echoes)‘. – anri sala

 

 

 


anri sala: french pavilion at the 2013 venice art biennale – ravel ravel
video © designboom
 

 

 


anri sala
ravel ravel unravel, 2013
french pavilion at the 55th international art exhibition, venice art biennale 2013
image © marc domage

 

 

 

 the second component of the french artist’s opus is found in the adjacent rooms of the building where two more films are presented, both existing under the same title ‘unravel’. the first of these captures chloé, a DJ who is filmed solo, mixing each of lortie and bavouzet’s versions of the concerto, in an effort to try and sync the two, ultimately creating her own interpretation of ravel’s arrangement. in this introductory part of ‘unravel’, the viewer finds themselves focused on chloé’s face, whose expressions, in the absence of music, remain open for interpretation. in the final segment of the three-part work  (and the second element of ‘unravel’) reveals chloé movements captured in the german pavilion, where she has been trying to ‘unravel’ the playing of lortie and bavouzet, and the musical score of ravel’s concerto ‘reunified’.

 

 

 


part one of ‘unravel’ focuses on the face of DJ chloé in silence, the expressions of her face left open to interpretation
image © designboom

 

 


anri sala: french pavilion at the 2013 venice art biennale – unravel part 1
video © designboom

 

 

 

‘ravel ravel unravel’ is a continued exploration of anri sala’s exploration into space and sound, in conjunction with the silent movements and language of the body. all at once, the films are different, but the same, each one approaching the same piece of music and its complexities, but through their own interpretation. the overlapping and layering of these elements, further pushes the boundaries of the artist’s sound spatialization experiments, ultimately creating an experience where the work deals with as much of the viewer’s intellect and understanding of the complexity of sala’s approach, as well as to their physical body, whereby the artist floods the spectator in multiple translations of ravel’s concerto.

 

 

 


part two of ‘unravel’ sees chloé trying to reunite the two version of ravel’s concerto played by lortie and bavouzet
image © designboom

 

 

 

from christine macel, curator of the french pavilion:

ravel composed two piano concertos almost simultaneously: the concerto in g and, following paul wittgenstein’s commission in 1929, the ‘concerto in d for the left hand’, completed in 1930 and first performed in 1931. this seventeen-minute concerto, in one movement, is energetic and very rhythmical with jazz-like effects; it does not have the light quality of his other concerto. ravel describes it as a ‘powerful crescendo’. after a first part, written in a solemn style, ‘a sudden change occurs and the jazz music begins’, ‘really built on the same theme as the opening part’. an indepth analysis shows that it is actually a triptych structured around two tempos, with a gradual link between movements, slow, lively then slow, based on a repetition of elements whose rhythmic power is intense.

the pianist marguerite long described ravel’s astonishing feat: ‘he did for one single hand—the hand which is usually regarded as the clumsier one—what ten fingers usually accomplish, though he did not overdo it’. furthermore, contrary to what ravel said, he created an exceptionally powerful dramatic work, ‘the thought of death, the nightmare of fear and of solitude’. indeed the concerto ends rather violently, with the orchestra and percussion catching up with the piano solo and aggressively dominating it.’

 

 

 


anri sala
ravel ravel unravel, 2013
french pavilion at the 55th international art exhibition, venice art biennale 2013
image © marc domage

 

 


anri sala: french pavilion at the 2013 venice art biennale – unravel part 2
video © designboom

 

 


the final film of the three-fold narration captures the DJ in the german pavilion reuniting ravel’s concerto
anri sala
ravel ravel unravel, 2013
french pavilion at the 55th international art exhibition, venice art biennale 2013
image © marc domage

 

 


anri sala on ‘ravel ravel unravel’ at the 2013 venice art biennale
video courtesy of la biennale channel

 

  • Thank you
    I am glad i paused AND listened AND viewed your gifts
    i wish very much I could experience what you have created in where you actually stage it.

    Paedra
    http://www.paedra.com

    Paedra says:

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