Anri Sala (born 1974, Tirana) is a leading contemporary artist whose early videos and films mined his personal experience to reflect on the social and political change taking place in his native Albania. Sala has attached a growing importance to sound,
creating remarkable works in which he recasts sound’s relationship to the image. Linked to this development is Sala’s long-standing interest in performance, and particularly musical performance. A central premise of this exhibition is that most of the works presented at the Serpentine either use a live performance as their starting point or could lead to a performance in the future.
The exhibition is conceived as a cycle, or loop, structured around pairs of works that echo each other. Answer Me, 2008, was filmed in the abandoned dome of a Buckminster Fuller-designed surveillance station and uses the structure’s unique architecture to investigate the effect of space on the production of sound. The dome’s distinctive echo, triggered in the film by a man playing the drums in the large, empty space, drowns out all of the dialogue spoken by the female character, with the exception of the words that give the film its title. The drum that is ‘played’ by the dome’s echo in Answer Me appears in the first room of the exhibition as Doldrum, a snare drum activated by the inaudible low frequencies of the film’s soundtrack.