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Film project inspired by Siege of Sarajevo part of IMMA’s inaugural programme at NCH

A striking film work inspired by the siege of Sarajevo will go on show as part of the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s inaugural programme in its temporary exhibition spaces at the National Concert Hall in Earlsfort Terrace on Thursday 31 May 2012. 1395 Days Without Red, by Albanian artist Anri Sala and American composer Ari Benjamin Meyers, will occupy the Annex at the NCH. The film takes as its subject the siege of Sarajevo, one of the most emblematic events of the violent breakup of the former Yugoslavia. The siege began 20 years ago this year, in 1992, and lasted for 1,395 days making it the longest siege in modern warfare.

During the siege thousands of citizens had to cross streets threatened by snipers everyday: to go to work, to buy food, to visit a relative. The citizens wore dark colours, for fear of alerting the snipers watching from the hills to their movements. In Sala’s film an elegant young woman makes her way through an empty city. At every crossing she stops, looks and listens. Should she wait or should she run? Should she wait for others or take the risk on her own? The city is Sarajevo, and the route the woman takes became known as Sniper Alley. Played by Spanish actress Maribel Verdú, she relives the trauma experienced by the citizens over almost four years. The 43-minute film is her individual journey through the collective memory of the city.

Throughout the siege, the Sarajevo Symphony Orchestra continued to play. In Sala’s film, the orchestra rehearses Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony, the Pathétique. The musicians stop and start, repeating different sections of the symphony, just as the woman stops and starts in her journey across the city. Hearing the music in her head, she finds the courage to carry on.

On Friday 22 June at the NCH the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, in a first collaboration with IMMA, will performing Tchaikovsky’s ravishingly beautiful Pathétique symphony, heard to such effect in Sala film. Being presented under the title Beauty and brilliance, the concert is conducted by Christian Kluxen and also includes Rachmaninov’s soaring Third Piano Concerto performed by prize-winning Korean pianist, Ann Soo-Jung. The concert, part of the NSO’s Summer Evening Concert Series, begins at 8.00pm and will be broadcast live on RTÉ lyric fm. Tickets from €10.

Born in Tirana, Albanian, in 1974, Anri Sala is one of the most outstanding young artists working today. His works are meditations on slowness in which camera movement is practically non-existent. In contrast with the speed of images in the media, Sala often freezes scenes into still-shots in order to highlight apparently trivial details. Anri Sala was educated at the National Academy of Arts, Tirana; at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Paris; and at Le Fresnoy, Studio National des Arts Contemporains, Tourcoing.  Sala has exhibited extensively, including the Tate Gallery, London, 2004; ARC, Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, 2004; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, 2003; the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, 2002; and the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, 2002. He is the recipient of numerous prizes, including the Young Artist Prize at the 49th Venice Biennale, 2001; the Prix Gilles Dusein, Paris, 2000; the Best Documentary Film Award from the Tirana International Film Festival (TIFF), 2000, and the International Film Festival +in Santiago de Compostela, 1999.

Artist Talk
At 6.00pm on Wednesday 30 May Anri Sala and Ari Benjamin Meyers discuss their collaboration with Declan Long, Lecturer in Visual Culture at the NCAD, in the Lecture Room at the NCH building. Admission is free but booking online is essential at

1395 Days Without Red, 2011, was made in collaboration with Liria Begeja, from a project by Šejla Kameriæ and Anri Sala in collaboration with Ari Benjamin Meyers. It was commissioned by Artangel. It is curated by Rachael Thomas, Senior Curator: Head of Exhibitions, IMMA.

An exhibition guide accompanies the exhibition.

1395 Days Without Red, 2011, continues until 15 July 2012. Admission is free.

The exhibition is supported by the Conrad Hotel Dublin and Feast Catering.

Opening hours at the NCH:
Tuesday: 10.00am – 5.30pm
Wednesday: 10.30am – 5.30pm
Thursday: 10.00am – 7.00pm
Friday and Saturday: 10.00am – 5.30pm
Sunday and Bank Holidays: 12noon – 5.30pm
Monday: Closed

For further information and images please contact Monica Cullinane at Tel: +353 1 612 9900; Email: [email protected]

14 May 2012