Angel­i­ca Mesiti
When doing is saying

20th February – 12th May 2019
Palais de Tokyo

Some utter­ances are the very act that they describe. The philoso­pher of lan­guage J.L. Austin called them per­for­ma­tive” dur­ing a series of lec­tures in the 1950s – pub­lished posthu­mous­ly as How to Do Things with Words” and trans­lat­ed into French as Quand dire c’est faire” (when say­ing is doing) – thus upturn­ing lin­guis­tics by open­ing out a new field based on a the­o­ry of acts of lan­guage. As for Angel­i­ca Mesi­ti, for sev­er­al years she has been devel­op­ing research into non-ver­bal com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Her ambi­tious video instal­la­tions, both the fruition of long-term explo­rations and chance encoun­ters, explore the poten­tial­i­ties of lan­guage which, beyond speech or writ­ing, are con­trary to any explic­it expres­sion, but still remain pos­si­ble as a means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. As the artist says, words are not my tool; all my train­ing is about expres­sion in a dif­fer­ent way.”

Her solo show at the Palais de Tokyo, the first in a French insti­tu­tion, is enti­tled Quand faire c’est dire” (when doing is say­ing), a sym­bol­ic rever­sal of a per­for­ma­tive utter­ance. Cov­er­ing the 2012 – 2017 peri­od, the exhi­bi­tion high­lights an icon­ic selec­tion of Angel­i­ca Mesiti’s works, most of which hav­ing nev­er been dis­played in France. Deployed over a broad­er extent in the 1,000sqm of the Galerie Seine, her video instal­la­tions cre­ate an immer­sive jour­ney, which becomes increas­ing­ly exper­i­men­tal dur­ing the vis­it, requir­ing each visitor’s active participation.

Whether it is a ques­tion of doc­u­ment­ing musi­cal per­for­mances from dis­tant lands, but pro­duced far away from their orig­i­nal con­texts, stag­ing a choir per­form­ing in sign lan­guage, or else adapt­ing a Morse code mes­sage into music, chore­og­ra­phy and sculp­ture, Angel­i­ca Mesi­ti cre­ates new lan­guages based on exist­ing sys­tems. The artist pays atten­tion to ques­tions of trans­la­tion, through sound, or the body, of var­i­ous cul­tur­al phe­nom­e­na. In all of these works, she high­lights the grace and inven­tive­ness of every­day life, while under­lin­ing the social and polit­i­cal out­reach of per­for­mance and music.

Cura­tor: Daria de Beauvais

Images

Angel­i­ca Mesiti

Exhi­bi­tion view, When doing is say­ing”, Palais de Tokyo, 2019
Pho­to: Aurélien Mole

Angel­i­ca Mesiti

Exhi­bi­tion view, When doing is say­ing”, Palais de Tokyo, 2019, pho­to: Aurélien Mole

Angel­i­ca Mesiti

Exhi­bi­tion view, When doing is say­ing”, Palais de Tokyo, 2019, pho­to: Aurélien Mole

Angel­i­ca Mesiti

Exhi­bi­tion view, When doing is say­ing”, Palais de Tokyo, 2019, pho­to: Aurélien Mole