4 May – 9 July 2017
Wednesday 3 May, 6 – 8pm
A relay league is a chain of message forwarding stations in a system of optical telegraphs, radio telegraph stations and riding couriers.
For this exciting new Artspace commission, Angelica Mesiti presents Relay League: a three-channel video installation spanning the entirety of Artspace. The work takes as its starting point a Morse code message sent on 31st January 1997: ‘Calling all. This is our last cry before our eternal silence’. This was not a desperate transmission by a radio operator on a sinking ship, but rather, the final message signalling the end of the use of Morse code sent by the French Navy. Inspired by this poetic signal of imminent expiration, Mesiti translates the dots and dashes through music and performance to enable the language to ‘speak’ once more.
Relay League is composed of three video projections connected by a labyrinth-like structure that functions as a membrane between physical and psychological elements embodied within her work. The installation will also feature a large-scale, harmonic sculpture that physically manifests the dots and dashes of this final message.
Filmed during Mesiti’s residency at the Centre National de la Danse in Paris, the three videos form the work’s visual hinge, bringing together both physical and psychological spaces. As a totality, the work brings to the surface aspects of human subjectivity and emotional states such as uncertainty, intimacy and humility. Rather than make visible the invisible in places where language and expression are silenced, subdued or unacknowledged, her work allows these vital and complex interrelations to combine in such a way that induces the feeling of being altered, connected and in many states at once.
Commissioned and curated by Artspace, this solo presentation will premiere at Artspace in May 2017, followed in September by the launch of her first monograph designed by Mark Gowing Studio and published by Schwartz City. In collaboration with Artspace, Relay League will travel to Art Sonje Center, Seoul in January 2018 for a major expanded presentation of her work. Through a partnership between Artspace and Museums & Galleries NSW Relay League will also tour eight Australian galleries including the Ian Potter Museum of Art, Griffith University Museum of Art and The Lock-Up Newcastle.
Mesiti’s work consistently grapples with transition, culture, communication and displacement. 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’.
Shortlisted in 2016 for the 9th edition of the prestigious Meurice Prize for Contemporary Art and with a residency at the Centre National de la Danse in Paris, Mesiti is increasingly establishing her reputation as one of Australia’s most outstanding artists. Working with the mediums of video and installation, and incorporating music and performance, her practice expands ideas of collective behaviour, social dynamics and human subjectivity through non-verbal forms of language and communication, exchange and adapted methods of expression.
Relay League is commissioned and curated by Artspace, Sydney, premiering in May 2017. It will be presented by Art Sonje Center, Seoul in January 2018.
The development and presentation of Relay League is supported by Commissioning Partner the Keir Foundation.
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body
With the support of CND Centre National de la Danse, Paris.
Relay League is touring nationally in partnership with Museums & Galleries of NSW.