Anri Sala

Musée d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris

There is something soothing and even soporific about repetition; it is, after all, the foundation not only of lullabies but also of certain hypnotic techniques. Sometimes, however, the monotony of repetition becomes irritating, unbearable, indeed, eventually torturous. The Paris-based Albanian artist Anri Sala is an expert in creating mesmerizing forms of repetition that produce strange states of mind, but he never goes so far as to cause pain. In the film Uomoduomo, 2001, which won the Young Artist Prize at the 2001 Venice Biennale, an old man in a Milan cathedral is drowsing away. His head drops for a second, then jolts back through a natural reflex, then falls again, then jolts back, over and over again, his spastic in-between state extending benignly to the viewer, who is slowly lulled into a similarly sleepy condition.

Sala’s recent show at the Couvent des Cordeliers, organized by

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