Rancière on Sala-Rama

From Anri Sala & Edi Rama: Dammi colori

The second, a work called ‘Give me the Colours’ (2003) by video-artist Anri Sala, uses video as a means to reflect on art’s ‘political’ power. His video-installation presents a project, initiated by the mayor of Tirana and reminiscent of the Schillerian project of the ‘aesthetic education of Man’, in which the mayor decided to have all the house facades of his town re-painted in bright colours in order to engender a new sense of aesthetic community among its citizens. Sala’s camera movements work in such a way as to produce a confrontation between the discourse of the ‘political artist’ and both the run-down character of the muddy street and seemingly blithe circulation of its inhabitants, as well as the abstractness of the patches of colours on the walls lining it. The point, it seems, is to use the means specific to ‘distant’ art in order to question a prevalent politics of art. In other words, it seems to be a direct attempt to fuse art and life into a single process.

From the essay “The Paradoxes of Political Art” in Jacques Rancière’s Dissensus.

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