kurimanzutto is pleased to present All of a Tremble, the second exhibition by Anri Sala in the gallery, where the artist explores the relationship between image construction and the physicality of sound. Situated across two opposite walls in the main gallery space, the works mechanize the process of synesthesia, the perceptual phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway (in this case, image) induces an automatic, involuntary experience in a second sensory or cognitive pathway (here, sound). Sala materializes the shared intersectional limit between these two senses, locating meaning within this gap: the installation works audibility and visuality against each other to expose an altogether new sensory dimension found at their point of convergence.
The designs in these installations were manually imprinted on strips of wallpaper by pressing a pencil on the paper against the roller, referencing the aesthetics of domestic wallpaper design. Originally hand-painted or applied by block printing, the speed and efficiency of wallpaper production increased with the invention of the roller painting process in the beginning of the 19th century. Wallpaper design has been closely linked to the expression of taste in households across the Western world; it provides domestic life with ornate backgrounds, conferring a sense of atmosphere, style, choice and character to it. Here, the process of wallpaper making is reinterpreted, reenacted, and examined.
All of a Tremble (Encounter II) and All of a Tremble (Delusion/Devolution) face each other in the gallery space producing images that take on cinematographic language: on one wall, two distinct floral motifs encounter each other, referencing a cut; while on the other, the pattern slowly recedes in a fade-out. Through a continuous rotation on its own axis, the needles of a wallpaper-printing cylinder streak against the reeds of a metallic comb to produce musical notes and phrases, thus physicalizing the sound of the neighboring patterns. Across both walls Sala exposes that very moment in which an image transforms into sound and a sound into image.
All of a Tremble (Encounter II) is a large-scale drawing that plays the encounter between two vintage wallpaper patterns and the melodic traces that comprise their formal composition; it is at once the visual manifestation and subsequent soundtrack of their merger. The reeds of the comb featured in All of a Tremble (Encounter II) have been individually tuned according to a combination of Western (tonal) and Eastern (microtonal) musical scales.
At the opposite side of the space, the symbiosis of sound and image ignited by All of a Tremble (Delusion/Devolution) creates scenes of rural dwellings like those dispersed across filmic forest landscapes (see: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves). Recognizable Disney forms –Bambi, Mickey Mouse and the Seven Dwarves, to name a few– start out as compact forms and, as the cylinder choreographs itself across the wall, they gradually become evenly spaced and stylistically abstract. All of a Tremble (Delusion/Devolution) displays the journey from figuration to abstraction through the relationship generated between sound and image. Sala borrows from the vernacular of cinematography to further enforce this relationship; the work is framed within cinematographic dimensions where visuals and sound occupy two layers of a same experience.
All of a Tremble continues Sala’s fascination with repetition: like an echo that becomes a dynamic concept and constructs itself anew in different moments and spaces. In All of a Tremble, image and sound coexist interdependently with the patterns of one tracing the other. Sala develops a theory of fission and fusion by observing how opposing mediums can work in conjunction through a process of sensory amalgamation. These works illustrate how sound becomes a means to investigate the relationship between form and formation, process and production, being and becoming.