Thursday, February 25, 2016

Anri Sala: Answer Me at New Museum

Anri Sala turns the architectural structure of New Museum into a cochlea. Due to the artist’s experience of political complicity of Albania, this cochlea presents a dysfunctional status that each piece of work is so loud and dominating, and is mostly impossible to communicate to others. Just like the title of the show: Answer Me, every characteristic is making noise and trying to gain attention, but yet, no one is answering anyone.

By beginning at the top floor of the show, the music guides viewers into each installation and floats them down the spiral stairs. Two hands of the pianist, which are separately displayed, are competing each other to gain dominance of the music in a spiky room. A DJ is playing her music in a white, empty, monumental space. Two giant projections are displaying two perspectives of a musical performance in opposite corners. Drums installed on the celling are playing by themselves. Several double-sided tabs are on the wall with skulls feebly hitting the drum at the front. Two projections on both sides of a huge board present a wall with a saxophone player and the shadows of the audience on both sides.

There is a solid structure within individual piece. However, by putting all the strong pieces together, the artist actually creates a mess. Moreover, the bilateral aspects of each piece welcome visitors to inspect the environment. Ambiguity is created by the conflicts. The title Answer Me lingers in the museum space to visitors.


  1. For me, this description captures exactly how I experienced the show. Starting on the top floor and walking down, being accosted physically and emotionally with audio and film. It was a fine line of being so overcome with the beauty of everything, while not truly understanding is anything was being answered. I do think it is important to mention the political implications tied with the show and the artist, because it parallels with the overwhelming and almost jarring relationship your mind and body have with the exhibition-it is the same way people react to politics.

  2. The atmosphere of the exhibition has low-key yet lively vibrations. The "spiky" things were sound proof sponges, so I think you may want to mention that element, too. I was confused in between descriptions of various pieces. Please make the indication more apparent. Also, it could help to illustrate locations of the artworks. I appreciate your expression when you say, "the air is muted." I think your interpretation of the mood is quite similar to what I felt, too.