Acclaimed Albanian artist to premiere new work for 33rd Kaldor Public Art Project

Kaldor Anri SalaKaldor Public Art Projects has announced that internationally celebrated Albanian-born, French artist Anri Sala will premiere a new sound and sculptural installation for the 33rd Kaldor Public Art Project, titled The Last Resort at Sydney’s Observatory Hill Rotunda from 13 October until 5 November 2017.

The first time the artist has presented a major new work in Australia, Sala will transform Mozart’s Clarinet concerto in A Major, K. 622, augmenting and reimagining the canonical piece of music as if, like a message in a bottle, it had been washed ashore in Sydney after a long voyage at sea.

The resulting sound and sculptural installation will fill the Observatory Hill Rotunda, which is Sydney’s highest natural viewpoint offering 360 degree vistas of the city and harbour. The Last Resort layers new meaning onto the historic site, using both sculpture and music to express the shifts that occur in transition between time and place.

“We are proud to present the world-premiere of a major new work by internationally acclaimed artist Anri Sala,” said John Kaldor, Director of Kaldor Public Art Projects. “Sala is in demand for exhibitions around the world and we have been fortunate to have his attention and energy over five years as he undertook rigorous research and a complex production process to create the 33rd Kaldor Public Art Project. This new work, one of the artist’s largest and most ambitious to-date, speaks to the Australian context and the extraordinary site of the Sydney Observatory.”

Sala has achieved international renown for his works of film, sculpture and installation that create poetic analogies reflecting on different frames of experience. His works often bridge language, sound and architecture, and orchestrate a dialogue between live and recorded works, to express the shifting and fragile interplay between time, memory and cross-cultural translation.

In Sydney, Sala reveals the geographical, cultural and conceptual shifts that transform the way we see our colonial past today and its Enlightenment foundations. Positioned alongside the historic Sydney Observatory, where colonial time was measured, and maps of the stars sustained the passage of ships moving between the ‘old world’ and ‘the new’, Sala reconfigures and reframes Mozart’s Concerto. He adjusts each movement of the piece, a masterpiece of the European Enlightenment, changing its centre of gravity, altering its tempo and transfiguring its instrumentation with an ensemble of drums.

Thirty-eight live snare drums, suspended from the Rotunda’s ceiling, have been customized and digitally enabled for the installation. An orchestral recording of Sala’s variation on the concerto, played through hidden speakers, will trigger the drums’ response, their mechanized rhythm overlaying the recorded track. This inverted, gravity-defying orchestra will create a dialogue between the past and present.

“I look at this work like a musical artefact that we have thrown in the ocean … the winds, the waves, the water currents take it one way and the other and it eventually reaches somewhere, though not as it originally started out as it is transformed by the journey,” said Anri Sala on his work for the 33rd Kaldor Public Art Project.

Anri Sala is a contemporary artist who came to prominence for videos mining his personal experience to reflect on the social and political change taking place in his native Albania. Since his early works, 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.

Sala represented France at the 55th Venice Biennale, 2013, and has shown in major exhibitions internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include: Clocked Perspective, Fundacíon JUMEX, Public Plaza (2017); Anri Sala: o momento presente, IMS–Instituto Moreira Salles, Rio de Janeiro (2016); Anri Sala: Answer Me, New Museum, New York (2016); The Present Moment, Haus der Kunst, Munich (2015); and Black Box: Anri Sala, The Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore (2014).

Anri Sala’s The Last Resort will be presented at Sydney’s Observatory Hill Rotunda from 13 October until 5 November 2017. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Anri Sala (supplied)