The Australia Council for the Arts has announced that video artist Angelica Mesiti has been selected to represent Australia at the Fifty-Eighth Venice Biennale. Juliana Engberg, who most recently served as the program director for the European Capital of Culture Aarhus in 2017, will curate the pavilion.
The Sydney-born artist’s video works often explore nonverbal forms of communication, such as the whistling languages of communities in the Canary Islands and Turkey, which she documents in her work The Calling, 2013–14, and sign language, which is featured in her multichannel video work The Colour of Saying, 2015. In the September 2015 issue of Artforum, Toni Ross wrote that the piece “confirms a marked evolution from her formative years in the Sydney art scene of the 2000s.” She added: “The Colour of Saying reimagines the ascetic bliss of a Minimalist aesthetic. This suite of austerely beautiful, meticulously designed video performances is an accomplished addition to Mesiti’s ongoing exploration of embodied ways of communicating.”
When asked about what to expect from her work for the 2019 Venice Biennale, Mesiti said: “I have a long process of research and development ahead of me and I’m reluctant to say too much about the content of the work because as you know it’s a really long way off. Let’s just say I’ll be using music as a mode of translation but also as a way of looking at significant historical moments that shape the narrative of who we arenot just in Australia. I’ll be using democracy as a prism to look at national identity.”