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About This Artwork
Two-channel digital color video, six-channel digital sound (rear projection on two Plexiglas screens); 15 min. loop
Gift of Donna and Howard Stone, 2007.44
Not on Display
Anri Sala has received extraordinary acclaim for a series of unconventionally beautiful, politically inflected videos. A global itinerant, he lives and works all over the world—predominantly in Berlin and formerly in Paris and his native Tirana. The artist’s short, formally accomplished works poignantly and strategically blend documentary, narrative, and autobiographical approaches, existing as minimal, ab-stract allegories of cultural suspension and transition. Concerns of immigration, exile, social alienation, violence, crime, poverty, and repression shadow all of his poetic, melancholic compositions.
Sala’s work is rooted in part in Albanian culture and history. He grew up under one of the most repressive communist dictatorships in Europe and later witnessed the tentative transition to a democratic, market-driven system before leaving to study in France in 1996. The following year, the Albanian economy collapsed under the weight of a corrupt government, bringing widespread lawlessness and violent unrest. Sala’s intensely analytical perspective has been forged by this firsthand experience of social turbulence and radical change. Confronting a traumatic history while negotiating a diasporic present, his work describes a condition of simultaneous disorientations—temporal, spatial, visual, aural, and linguistic.
Blindfold, like Sala’s work in general, displays an acute political consciousness. The two-channel projection depicts a blinding sun. Shown both at sunrise and sunset, it reflects off a pair of new, as-yet-unused metal billboards in Tirana, a city that figures prominently in many of Sala’s mature experiments. The radiant blankness of the two boards, which appear as surrogate cinema screens, suggests the incipient, fragile nature of Albania’s transition to a capitalist economy. The infrastructure of shiny public advertising coexists incongruously with the city’s decrepit surroundings.
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