Tossed by Waves
25th May – 1st July 2017
Anna Schwartz Gallery
‘Tossed by Waves’ transforms Anna Schwartz Gallery into a living space where sculptures emit distress signals and a video calls attention to precarious democracy.
For over a decade, Angelica Mesiti’s oeuvre has investigated non-verbal and endangered forms of communication. Her most recent project engages with the disused language of Morse code, once particularly useful in moments of crisis. Mesiti’s seemingly innocuous hanging sculptures are comprised of dots and dashes enabling them to perform Morse code messages, such as SOS.
The single-channel video Tossed by Waves, 2017 is marked by silence and languorous travelling movements. The camera captures an ambiguous procession of sculptural bodies, entangled and clamped onto a stone trunk. The monument is never quite revealed, yet clues, such as graffiti bearing the names of loved ones and messages of hope, suggest the present time.
This is Mesiti’s meditation on turbulence and resilience from the perspective of her adopted city of Paris, whose motto: fluctuat nec mergitur translates as “tossed by the waves but does not sink.” In use since the mid-1300s, the phrase has gained a resurgence of popularity with the November Paris attacks in 2015. Over the past two years, Mesiti has engaged with the Place de la République as a place of memory, protest, and perhaps foremost as a contemporary agora; the symbolic heart of a city standing for its democratic values.