Angelica Mesiti Relay League (production still) , 2016
- Image Credit
- Commissioned by Artspace. Courtesy the artist, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne and Galerie Allen, Paris.
About the exhibition
Relay League is the first major institutional show in Australia by acclaimed artist Angelica Mesiti. The exhibition, presented at Artspace from May to July 2017, features a newly commissioned three channel work, drawing on the artist’s ongoing interest in non-verbal communication, cross-cultural exchange and adapted methods of expression.
Mesiti’s practice has consistently demonstrated an interest in how the body is used as a vessel for expression and communication. This has been explored via music and dance as a form of cultural remembrance in widely-seen works including Citizens Band (2012), In the Ear of the Tyrant (2014) and Nakh Removed (2015). She has investigated adapted methods of communication in the face of adversity in The Calling (2013–14), which depicts the intricacies of whistling languages in three remote communities, and in The Colour of Saying (2015), for which she worked with a sign language choir and elderly ballet dancers to consider the paradox of ‘ability’.
The exhibition expands these interests to explore the diversity of human experience and expression, particularly inspired by those who are dealing with being silenced in some way but have found ways to be heard. Integral to her work is her investment in collaboration with a variety of performers – both professionally trained and self-taught, hailing from metropolitan centres to small, remote communities – in this case a collaboration with two Swedish dancers, one of whom is affected by impaired vision. The pair have developed an intimate and idiosyncratic ‘language’ of communicating movement using their own corporeal knowledge, where she helps him to ‘watch’ dance through the touch and feel of her body against his. Mesiti will engage with the two dancers to develop a dance performance for video working with this method of ‘seeing eye’ movements as a language.
Each channel is conceptually linked through an exploration of perception, translation, communication, loss, silence and reinvention via the language of performance. They consider notions of limitation not with pity but with respect for its difference, resilience and innovation, highlighting how transformation emerges from loss and decay.
About the artists
Angelica Mesiti was born in Sydney in 1976 and is currently based in Paris. She holds a Master of Fine Arts from the College of Fine Arts (now UNSW Art + Design) at the University of New South Wales. Mesiti works primarily with video and installation, incorporating performance, dance and musicality to explore ideas of community, cultural tradition and spirituality. She is interested in performed cultural traditions in a state of transformation, or at risk of extinction due to complex social, economic or cultural shifts.