Documentation of the exhibition 'An Ocean of Air' at Galerie Allen Paris, 24th Sept - 14th Nov 2015.
For her first solo exhibition in Paris, at Galerie Allen, Angelica Mesiti presented 'An Ocean of Air', comprised of two silent videos and a sculptural sound work.
A wave of sound undulates through the gallery. These uninterrupted notes come from a small island — a sculpture, 'Untitled (Sound Sculpture)' — made up of three “prepared ” miniature harmoniums. On the keyboard of each instrument the artist has placed a piece of Volvic lava, with the stones’ innately uneven surfaces pressing down on a series of random notes to create an atonal motif, generating a discordant sound. The result is similar to that of a ritournelle, where the repetitive, hypnotic harmonies evoke a drone music effect.
On the adjacent walls, two silent videos are projected. First, 'In the Mouth of the Tyrant', which follows the slow descent of the sun setting into the crater of the still-smoking Mount Stromboli — a phenomenon that occurs once a year, around August 15. Then, the exaltant 'Nakh Removed', which examines the rite of the “hair dance,” a ritual in Berber culture where the repeated rocking of the head and body are reputed to send the dancer into a trance. Here, the dance has been (re)appropriated by five Parisian women of Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian origin.
From this transcultural montage emerges an aesthetic of existence, which reveals the phenomenology of our orchestrated bodies. These body-instruments are transported by “the very idea of a chorus and of the melody of things, the articulation between solitude and community, a sort of echo of Nietzsche’s reflections on the Apollonian and the Dionysian .” There is also a similarity with the notion of wajd: the quest to find the deepest sense of being or to connect intimately with the moment .
from the essay 'Notes on the melody of things' by Maryse Morin, translated from the French by Tara Mulholland