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French Pavilion
Giardini di Castello
Castello, Venice Italy

reported by e-flux

shared by numero civico rovereto


Anri Sala, Ravel Ravel, 2013. HD video projection, colour, on 2 screens, multi channel sound. Duration: 20’ 45” each. Courtesy : Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris; Marian Goodman Gallery, New York; Hauser & Wirth, Zurich/London, © Anri Sala, Photo Francesca Cristellotti Rovereto TN Italy.

French Pavilion

55th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia

Anri Sala

Ravel Ravel Unravel

Commissioner: Institut Français in co-prodction with CNAP.
Curator: Christine Macel

Sede: Padiglione ai Giardini di Castello

The project

Anri Sala’s project for the French Pavilion has been conceived for the space of the German Pavilion where it is exceptionally being exhibited, and is entitled Ravel Ravel Unravel (2013).
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 the Concerto in D 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, conducted by Didier Benetti.
At the centre of Anri Sala’s project is the interpretation of the same piece of music by the two musicians. As the artist explains: “each film is focused on the choreography of the left hand encompassingthe entirety of the keyboard, while the right hand remains still”.
These two films are projected simultaneously in a semi-anechoic chamber, and, thanks to the sound spatialisation work of sound designer OlivierGoinard, they create the impression of a musical “race”, due to the discrepancy between their tempos that has been prepared beforehand by Anri Sala and by the composer and conductor Ari BenjaminMeyers.
The artist continues: “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 environmentconceived to annihilate the sense of space (by suppressing echoes)”.
In the adjacent rooms, two other films are presented under the single title Unravel. Chloé, 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. Unravel and Ravel Ravel generate a three-fold narration. The viewer indeed first discovers a film centred on Chloé’s face and whose meaning, in the absence of any music, remains open. After the Ravel Ravel installation, the last film (and second part of Unravel) finally unveils the movements of the DJ filmed in the German Pavilion, on the musical score of Ravel’s « re-unified » Concerto. In these films, Anri Sala continues his exploration of space and sound, as well as the silent language of the body. He offers an experience based on difference and sameness, in an ambitious piece of work that further pushes his experimentations in sound spatialisation. The work appeals just as much to the viewer’s intellect as to his body, creating a powerful physical and emotional experience, submerging the viewer in its music.
For Anri Sala, the space of the German Pavilion has proved to be a source of infinite possibilities. While he has not focused on the history of the building, the artist is nevertheless interested in the specific resonances that it holds and what its history will give to his work.
Christine Macel
Curator of the French Pavilion

Anri Sala, artist
Anri Sala was born in 1974, in Tirana, Albania. He belongs to the last generation of artists who grew up under the communist regime in Albania and the first generation to enter into contact with the international art community. In his first films, at the end of the nineties, he highlighted the social and political changes in the country where he grew up and he was confronted with. His increasing interest in sound then led him to create artworks where he reevaluates the relation between sound and image, revealing at the same time his great interest in performance and in particular the musical performance.
He was first educated at the National Academy of Arts, in Tirana (1992-1996), and moved to France where he attended École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris (1996-1998), and Le Fresnoy, Studio National des Arts Contemporains in Tourcoing (1998-2000). Internationally recognized, he has participated in a great number of international art biennials including Berlin (2001, 2006), Moscow (2007), São Paulo (2002, 2010), Sydney (2006) and Venice (1999, 2001, 2003). He has had numerous solo exhibitions, including at Kunsthalle Wien (2003), the Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris (2004), the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, the Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati (2008-2009), the Serpentine Gallery in London, the NMAO in Osaka, Japan and the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal in 2011. Anri Sala was also awarded the Young Artist Prize at the Venice Biennale in 2001. His work forms part of major international museum collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pinakothek der Moderne (Munich), the MoMA (New York), the Centre Pompidou (Paris) and MUSAC (León). He was recently the subject of a wide-ranging monographic exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, (May 2 - August 6 2012). He lives and work between Paris and Berlin, and is represented by the Galerie Chantal Crousel in Paris, Marian Goodman Gallery in New York, Hauser & Wirth in Zurich and London, kurimanzutto in Mexico, Galerie Rüdiger Schoettle in Munich and Galerie Johnen in Berlin.

Christine Macel, curator
Chief Curator at Centre Pompidou-MNAM since 2000, where she heads the Department of Contemporary and Prospective Creation Christine Macel recently curates Anri Sala’s monographic exhibition at the Centre Pompidou (May-August 2012). In April 2013 she inaugurated in the Espace 315 of the same institution the exhibition L’image dans la sculpture, showing the work of four young artists (Nina Beier, Simon Denny, Navid Nuur, YorgosSapountzis).

At the Centre Pompidou, she conceived and curated the exhibition Dance your Life (with Emma Lavigne), Promises of the Past, Airs de Paris and Dionysiac, as well as various solo shows, among which those of Raymond Hains, Sophie Calle, Philippe Parreno, and Gabriel Orozco. She presented many young artists in the Espace 315 of the Centre Pompidou, from Koo Jeong-A in 2004 to Tobias Putrih in 2009. She has furthermore curated a large number of shows outside the Pompidou, such as John Bock at the FRAC Provence- Alpes-Côte d’Azur (2005) or Ziad Antar at the Sharjah Art Foundation (2012). She acted as advisor for the project Based in Berlin in 2011. Christine Macel contributes to many catalogues and leading publications such as Flash Art and Artforum and in 2007 published an essay on contemporary art entitled « The Time taken, the work of time in the work of art » (Ed. Monografik/Centre Pompidou).

55th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia
June 1 – November 24, 2013

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, pianist
A former student at the Conservatoire de Paris, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet was discovered by Sir George Solti in 1995, when he started playing with the Orchestre de Paris. Since then, he has performed in the greatest international concert halls (London, Boston, Berlin…), together with the greatest conductors (Piere Boulez, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Ivan Fischer…). Jean-Efflam Bavouzet was awarded the title of artist of the year 2012 by the ICMA (International Classic Music Awards), and has received numerous prizes throughout his career: Gramophone Awards, BC Music Magazine awards, Diapason d’Or, Choc de l’année Classica… He is the artistic director of the Lofoten Piano Festival in Norway and will be giving concerts, this year, in Beijing, Bilbao, Porto and Schwetzingen.

Louis Lortie, pianist
Having won the most prestigious piano competitions, Louis Lortie has made a name for himself on the international stage over the past fifteen years. A native of Montréal, he has appeared as a soloist with the best European orchestras (London, Munich, Leipzig…) and has played with most of the major North American ensembles (Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco…). Louis Lortie is also a remarkable and much sought-after chamber music pianist, and regularly plays with the Quatuor Ébène. Louis Lortie has been awarded the highest distinctions of his native country, and has over thirty recordings to his name.

Didier Benetti, conductor
As a solo timpanist in the Orchestre National de France, Didier Benetti has played under the direction of the greatest conductors: Lorin Mazel, Piere Boulez, Ricardo Muti, Valery Gergiev, Kurt Masur. Having gained a wealth of learning and inspiration from these encounters, he decided to become a conductor. He has taken part on numerous occasions in projects involving the fusion of musical genres: symphonic music and jazz, traditional music, electronic music – and he regularly collaborates with French and European opera houses. This season, he will be conducting the Orchestre National de France several times in recordings and concerts.

L’Orchestre National de France
The Orchestre National de France was born out of the desire of creating a tool at the service of French music and of the symphonic repertoire. This ambition has ensured the enduring prestige of the Orchestre National, as can be seen from the list of conductors who have directed it and of the soloists it has invited. Since September 2008, Daniele Gati has been the orchestra’s musical director. Together, they take on the French repertoire (Debussy and Ravel), the German repertoire (Brahms, Beethoven, Mahler) and the Italian lyric repertoire. The orchestra is a major player on the international scene, as can be seen from the success of its numerous international tours. The orchestra has played several concerts in residence at the Vienna Musikverein for many seasons.

Chloé, Dj artist
Chloé Thévenin is a DJ artist and composer of French electronic music. Her style and the eclectic range of musical genres, which she works into her performances, have established her as a sought-after artist, who has been invited to the most prestigious European clubs (Rex Club in Paris, Tresor in Berlin, Robert-Johnson in Frankfurt…). She has been producing maxi singles, remixes and albums for various labels for many years, including for BPitch Control, Kil the Dj and InFiné Records, while participating in countless collaborations with choreographers, performers, filmmakers and artists – in particular, she provided the musical soundtrack for the show Pandora’s Box/Body by Fabrice Ramalingom at the Montpellier Danse festival in 2010.

Ari Benjamin Meyers, collaborating with Anri Sala on the project
A native of New York, Ari Benjamin Meyers trained as a composer and conductor at the Julliard School in New York, at Yale University and at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. He moved to Berlin thanks to a Fulbright grant in 1996, and has lived there ever since. His most recent compositions include The Lightning and Its Flash (solo for conductor, 2011), SOLO (performance installation for one singer and one audience, 2010) and Symphony X (for Redux Orchestra, 2009; for two pianos, 2010, for electronic instruments, 2011; for orchestra, 2012).
On top of the numerous artist projects which he has contributed to (which include works by Tino Sehgal, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Saâdane Afif), Ari Benjamin Meyers has collaborated on the production of The Breathing Line (2012) and 1395 Days without Red (2011) by Anri Sala. He has also been the musical director of the collaborative project Il Tempo del Postino, commissioned by Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Philipe Parreno, which was presented for the first time as part of the Manchester International Festival in 2007.

Olivier Goinard, collaborating with Anri Sala on the project
Olivier Goinard is an engineer, editor and sound mixer. He has worked on numerous featurefilms by French and international directors, includingthe films, Les Adieux à la Reine (2011) and L’Intouchable( 2006) by Benoît Jacquot, Carlos (2010) and L’Heure d’été (2006) by Olivier Assayas,LaurenceAnyways by Xavier Dolan (2011), Les Trois singes (2008) by Nuril Bilge Ceylan and the films of VladimirPerisic, Julie Bertucelli, François Ozon and Agnès Varda. His work has been nominated twice for the César for best sound, in 2004 for Les Egarés by André Téchiné, and in 2013 for Les Adieux à la Reine. In addition, Olivier Goinard has taken part in various projects conceived by Anri Sala; in particular, he was responsible for the sound spatialisation of the entire southern gallery of the Pompidou Centre in the context of Sala’s monographic exhibition in 2012.

The context 2013

The swap of Pavilions
Christine Macel, the curator of the French Pavilion, and the artist Anri Sala; Susanne Gaensheimer,the curator of the German Pavilion, and the artists she has invited, Ai Weiwei, Romuald Karmakar, Santu Mofokeng, and Dayanita Singh, have agreed to exchange the spaces of the French and German Pavilions for the next Venice Biennale. Beginning of this year, France and Germany proposed to exchange the buildings of the French and the German Pavilions at the 55th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia in 2013. This move had been discussed time and again in the past decade, and this year the curators and artists chosen for the French and German Pavilions decided to start a constructive dialogue, eventually agreeing to exchange the spaces of the pavilions, whilst developing independent artistic concepts. International dialogue is a given in today’s art world, which seems much more defined by the meeting of cultural spheres than by the rigidity of national borders. Moreover, the curators as well as the artists feel committed to the vision of a common European culture in the larger framework of a global cultural community.

Elysée 50
To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Franco- German friendship (Elysée Treaty) in 2013, France and Germany have decided to pay tribute to the intensity and excellence of their cultural relationship by exchanging their national pavilions on the occasion of the Biennale di Venezia – International Art Exhibition.

Brunswick Art
French Pavilion
Leslie Compan
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Maria Marques
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Institut français
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Centre national des arts plastiques
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+ 33 (0)1 4693 9955

The Ministry of Culture and Communication
General Directorate of Artistic Creation
Communication Department
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Communication Manager
+ 33 (0)1 40 15 88 53
Press Contacts French Pavilion
Brunswick Arts
Leslie Compan
T +33 (0)6 29 18 48 12

Maria Marques
T +33 (0)6 26 54 28 67

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