"Intervista" can be considered the debut work of Anri Sala, one of the most important artists of his generation. The video includes archival documentaries, fragments from propaganda films and TV news, as well as the artist's reconstruction of certain events from the past. The piece takes a newsreel found by the artist at his parents' home as its basis. The newsreel features an interview with his mother Valdet who was an active member of the Albanian Communist Youth Union in the 1970s. As it turned out, the interview no longer had its soundtrack and the artist's mother did not remember the fact of giving an interview, nor what was it about, just as the journalist who conducted the interview. With the assistance of a school for deaf-mutes, the artist restored his mother's interview made twenty years earlier. In this way, Sala constructed an event that would be impossible in real life; it enables one to encounter one's past self, the person that he or she was several decades ago. At the same time, the artist apparently compares himself with his mother. Since at the time Sala was working on this piece he was approximately the same age as his mother in the video, the comparison the artist draws between his mother's outlook on life and attitudes and his own appears more justified than any other possible attempts to relate one's life to that of one's parents.

By portraying the son interviewing his mother and his mother confronting her illusions and beliefs of youth, which she apparently repressed afterwards, Sala creates an emotionally intense video in the genre of "lyrical documentary", which is characteristic of the 1990s, the period when finally it became necessary to reconsider many of the historical events of the last five decades of the 20th century.

Due to the complexity of the history of the second half of the 20th century, in particular Albanian history, Anri Sala's "Intervista" not only tells a story of a family but also demonstrates a person's life as portrayed against a backdrop of great historical and ideological changes that shown as part of an individual story appear more dramatic than being viewed in isolation from the unique life circumstances of one of these events' participants. In this way, Sala creates a system of parallels — ignorance of one's country history on the national level is echoed in the amnesia of an individual; the destiny of a generation is reflected in the life of its representative; and the life of people as shaped by important historical events is compared with the life of those making them. At the same time, "Intervista" in a way reconciles history with a person's life story. Although the memories of the past evoked controversial and rather painful reaction in the artist's mother, her emotional response demonstrates that one's life and choices are more important than history and ideology and no political regime can stop people falling in love and having children, with the fear for one's children, as shown by the example of the artist's mother, is stronger than one's concerns about politics and one's relationships with it.
artistic director of the project: Viktor Misiano
National Center for Contemporary Arts
Moscow Museum of Modern Art
Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center
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