What to see in Paris: Critic Mathilde Roman on three shows up now [posted 3/5/19]

“The idea of communication is the common theme in three excellent exhibitions currently on view in Paris.”

“Angelica Mesiti: when doing is saying”
through May 12, 2019
Palais de Tokyo

“Camille Llobet: Idiolecte”
through March 23, 2019
Florence Loewy

“Tarek Lakhrissi: Caméléon Club,” curated by Thomas Conchou
through March 30, 2019
La Galerie

The idea of communication is the common theme in three excellent exhibitions currently on view in Paris. Angelica Mesiti’s solo show at the Palais de Tokyo comprises a selection of her immersive video installations from 2012–2017. An Australian artist based in Paris, Mesiti is interested modes of communication other than speech or writing, particularly those that entail sound or movement. Her research along these lines has led her to film a choir that sings in sign language, and Greek, Turkish, and Spanish communities that still use whistling to transmit messages over long distances.

In Mesiti’s nonlinear narratives, individuals and communities articulate their sense of connection and belonging through music, dance, or coded signals. The three-channel video Relay League (2017), for example, presents a Morse code message translated first into a drum solo and then into a dance duet. Citizens Band (2012) documents immigrant musicians in France and Australia performing music in nonconventional spaces: a public pool, a taxicab, the Paris Metro, and a street corner. Presented across multiple screens, often with the addition of sculptural elements, each work intertwines viewers and images in a mise-en-scène choreographed by the artist.

Angelica Mesiti, Relay League, 2017 (still), three-channel HD video, color, sound, 9’ 11”. Courtesy the artist, Anna Schwartz Gallery (Melbourne) and Galerie Allen (Paris).

French artist Camille Llobet’s first solo exhibition at Florence Loewy, organized with the support of the CNAP Centre national des arts plastiques, brings together works in different media based on her investigations into how we memorize, communicate, and traverse inner and outer territory.

At the center of the show are three videos. In Majelich (2018), an opera singer—her face conveying the intensity of her concentration—listens to the babbling of the artist’s infant daughter on headphones, reproducing the sounds for the camera. Revers (2018) shows the artist attempting to describe in words what she sees when she closes her eyes. In a third video, Make Music (2017), athletes silently mime kayaking, ski jumping, pole vaulting, and the like from memory. Together the works provide a richly visual demonstration of the limits and possibilities of language.

Camille Llobet, Revers, 2018 (still), color video, 06’ 50”. Courtesy of the artist and Florence Loewy, Paris.

For his exhibition at La Galerie, Tarek Lakhrissi has created an environment informed by speculative fiction, pop culture, his identity as a queer, French Arab man, and his interest in what words can and cannot say. Comprising wall texts in French and English, objects like a fluttering length of fabric imprinted with lines of poetry, and films playing on monitors and screens, the show imagines a utopian future for the Paris banlieue where this art center is located.

Tarek Lakhrissi, Out of the Blue–Part I, 2019, color video, 14 minutes. Installation view, La Galerie centre d’art contemporain Noisy-le-Sec, February 2–March 30, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and La Galerie. Photo copyright © Pierre Antoine.