Albanian artist Anri Sala’s video works represent his thoughts on the transitory and ephemeral characters of life, utilizing music to subvert and confound the audiences’ perceptions. His works are also considered to be about place and identity, questioning the relationship between consciousness and the landscape.
Dialectical oppositions dominate Anri Sala’s artistic practice: time and space, nature and culture, original and derivative; they all dynamically interact with each other, proving the fallacy of any fixed distinctions in terms of life and therefore of art. His works seek to prove that only an ephemeral line divides fiction from fact. It also conveys the idea of the mutual dependency between our daily lives and works of art, integrating his distinctive take on social realism with the contingency of the artistic creation.
The Albanian artist was born in Tirana in 1974, where he first studied at the National Academy of Arts. He soon left for France in order to continue his apprenticeship, and eventually moved to Berlin where he now lives and works. Mirroring a national tendency, which is also evident in other Albanian artists such as Adrian Paci and Helidon Gjergji, Sala’s elected medium is video installation.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Post-modern, post-existentialist, post-deconstructionist, Sala nevertheless pushes his art beyond the ruins of what he has left behind, and orchestrates a new language in which images and sounds are gathered together in search of an original expression. Sala’s work challenges the theoretical distinction between visual art and music, giving form to a liminal territory where images and songs are blurred together. This is similar to what the artist says: ‘like my life, my work is continuously shaped, inspired and constrained by rapture, and transitory or intermediate stations’. Lately, Sala has been including live performances within his exhibitions; his solo show at the Serpentine Gallery in 2011 saw the two jazz saxophonists Andre Vida and Caroline Kraabel playing every day as a response to the artist’s cryptic video. Sala also filmed the musician Jemeel Moondoc, who performed while suspended outside an apartment window on the eighteenth floor. Like the British social realism of the 1950s and 60s, the Albanian artist questions the current affairs and society’s values, while highlighting art’s innate political significance. He is the ‘angry young men’ of British social realism, unmasking society’s illusions and dramatized a sense of general alienation. Sala abhors solipsistic visions and instead poeticises daily situations that anybody can identify with.
In this way, Sala’s work is very unlike the English ‘kitchen-sink’ dramas, where the entire play is developed in one room, emphasizing the idea of claustrophobia; instead, Sala’s practice breathes in the outdoors. This questions the complex bond between urban topography and people’s daily life, showing how the two interrelate. His practice, in fact, awakens a sense of mutual belonging between inhabitants and the urban space, exploring how a city is nurtured by human relationships, and people’s collective awareness is consolidated by the space they live in. This is evident in Sala’s video Dammi i colori (Give me the Colours), which was on display at the Tate Modern. The piece is titled after Puccini’s opera Tosca and is a 16 minute work on Tirana’s urban and cultural transformations. The capital’s mayor, Edi Rama, is the narrative voice; Sala films his friend while they drive around Tirana’s streets. The viewer gets to know Rama’s face only towards the end of the video. Before that, the mayor is just a voice-over that describes the city’s colorful awakening. Rama, who is also an artist, promoted an urban artistic project: buildings’ facades have been colored with bright yellow, green, violet and red, obscuring, at least temporarily, the dusty, dry and arid public works. The video is a succession of long-takes with which the artist invites the viewer to enter the images’ intricate mystery. There is no heavy narrative or agitated movements to focus on, just visions of people and things subtitled by Rama’s thoughts.
In addition, opposites are complementary in Dammi I Colori; as the day alternates with the night, light and dark follow one another. Deserted streets turn into noisy bazaars where people chaotically make their way to work. While silence stands for the night-time when everything is still, noises metonymically stand in for labor and activities, the drills used by builders and buses are packed with people that beat the city’s rhythm. Rama appears as Plato’s governor-philosopher, the wise mayor caught in the intimate moment when he openly confesses his thoughts. For him, colors are the element through which time is experienced.
Sala won the Absolut Art Award in 2011, and in 2013 he showcased his work in the Venice Biennale. His work has been recognized as the integration of different art forms and his videos as an attempt to familiarize viewers with the enigma of vision and reveal a devotion to simplicity. But most importantly, his works seem to suggest that the image’s essence is to be found in its deconstruction through time and space.
Watch below a interview with Sala while showcasing his work:
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.