Anri Sala b. 1974
Dammi I Colori (2003)
Sala didn't paint the Tirana facades in Dammi i Colori (Give Me the Colors), in his current show. Others did, as part of an ongoing project initiated by Edi Rama, the city's mayor and a former artist, who takes us on a tour-with English subtitles-past the oddly intense crazy quilts of saturated color that festoon the drab city's decaying buildings. What at first seems an eerily schizoid imposition of formal modern decoration onto the wretched realities of a bleak post-apocalyptic place-crumbling walls, rummaging inhabitants, bare trees bleached by the glare of the artist's headlights-reveals itself as a post-utopian project. "The city was dead. It looked like a body," intones the mayor, who has pinned his hopes on this quixotic social experiment. "What are the colors doing to us?" Sound-deep, ambient, and urban-plays a unifying role in Sala's video, as if underscoring the mayor's words: "Color also has another role, it must bind together."