Anri Sala, 'Long Sorrow', 2005. Super 16 MM transferred to single channel HD video. Stereo Sound, Color / 12'57”


Music attracts other fields of art and involves them through the perception of written sounds, sonority, places of affection and territories. Even recognizing disparate concepts in the work of the Albanian Anri Sala and the Cuban Carlos Garaicoa, it is noteworthy that both appropriated music as a symbolic space of territory, created in the relations of occupation and feeling of belonging, in their exhibitions in São Paulo: The Present Moment, by Anri Sala, at Instituto Moreira Sales, and being urban, by Carlos Garaicoa, at the Porto Seguro Cultural Space. Both play poetically in everyday life, put the music in the skin of the performances, sometimes they dive into twilight zones and, at other times, they emerge under the beam of light. Two migrants from communist countries. Anri Sala was born in Tirana and chose Berlin to live. Garaicoa is from Havana, where he has a studio, as well as another in Madrid. Each, in their own way, reflects on being in the world as observers of historical-political-cultural issues.
Ser Urbano, an exhibition composed of seven works, including installations, videos, models and drawings, is curated by Rodolfo de Athayde and closes a cycle upon completion of the installation. Music sheet (2017). Developed over ten years, it has the participation of more than 70 street musicians from Madrid and Bilbao. Their meeting materializes in the installation composed of sheet music supports. In each one, tablets and headphones are attached, which play videos of these artists. The scores, in turn, display free drawings, created by Garaicoa, inspired by the melodies of these musicians. Each support represents one of them and its different instruments, which can be wind, string, percussion or metal. Everything is distributed throughout the space, as in a symphony orchestra. In the center of the installation, the conductor takes the place of a small stage with three screens with images of musicians performing in the corners of cities, in addition to speakers. As the geographer Milton Santos stated, street art, naturally urban and public, carries a strong political burden as it occupies spaces outside the institutionalized fields of art and touches social realities up close.

Carlos Garaicoa, 'Partituras', 2017, installation – Sound, animation, pedestals, tablets, paper, tape.

Navigating in the opposite direction, in Present Moment, Anri Sala takes the audience to “float” with the video The Clash (2010), by giving breath and oxygenation in the music/individual/territoriality relationship. Take ownership of success Should I Stay or Should I Go, by the English punk band The Clash and spreads it around the city, with an explicit political and poetic dimension. The text of the song develops in a field of strong questions and fragile answers, it wanders between the doubt of staying or leaving and is played on different instruments such as organ, music box and piano. In the video, a man carries a music box while a couple struggles to push a barrel organ that slowly plays the song of the same name. They walk towards the Salle de Fêtes, in the Grand Parc de Bordeaux, former French cathedral of punk rock. Sala relates territory and music based on the memory of the place and, as defined by the exhibition’s curator, Heloisa Espada, the couple pushing the barrel organ may have frequented the Salle des Fêtes or it may just symbolize a fragment of a waking dream. In Anri Sala's work, the banalization of everyday life is transformed through libertarian practices in the public space, in the best spirit of the Situationist International, a movement that emerged in 1957, which advocated, among other things, a life of play and permanent freedom.
The main installation of Present Moment seems to have found in music his ideal way of representing and experiencing transience. The large room maintains two opposing screens that dialogue, having as their guiding thread Transfigurated Night, the last romantic piece by the Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951), who then breaks with the tonal tradition and creates the technique of dodecaphonism. The video installation has a short duration, with an initial seven minutes with sound and the remaining eight focused on the chamber orchestra rehearsal, in which the repetitive gestures of the violinists, with their arms moving like pistons, take over the space. The central ceiling displays drums from a dismantled drum set fixed upside down and the cadenced noise of the repetition of notes alludes to the technological alienation of the post-Fordist period.
In another room, in the middle of the video projection long smile, in the first week of the exhibition, the public was surprised by a live performance by saxophonist Andre Vida. His music, performed in loco, dialogued with the images of the video in which another musician, Jemeel Moondoc, played an exquisite jazz saxophone, hanging outside the 18th floor of a building of the housing project, known as Langer Jammer, in English. Long Sorrow.
Language has always interested Garaicoa, especially that of public spaces. The surfaces of the sidewalks of Havana in the 30s and 40s stamped, in front of the stores, the names of the establishments and some “sayings”. Some are recorded in photos and, based on them, Garaicoa transforms fragments of pavement into rugs, creating a graphic layer that addresses the time and temporality of urban spaces. According to curator Rodolfo Athayde, the artist sheds light on poetized fragments, such as “end of silence” or “frustration of dreams”.
The issue of language is also present in Sala's show. According to Foucault, man composed his own figure in the interstices of a language in fragments. In Lak-kat, Sala films three boys in a dark environment where an adult, in off-screen, makes them repeat words in Wolof, the original language of Senegal. At first, the words refer to the concepts of darkness and light. Then they describe skin tones and varied ways of referring to foreigners. Three screens show, simultaneously, translations from the wolof into the Portuguese spoken in Brazil, Portugal and Angola.

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