Lina Lapelytè

The Mutes

Exhibition from 23 Jun to 24 Jul 2022

71 days ago

Lafayette Anticipations presents a new musical and performative project by the artist Lina Lapelytè, Golden Lion at the 2019 Venice Biennale.

Through music, installations, and the orchestration of collective performances, Lina Lapelytè is interested in power structures, culture, and contemporary ways of being. By overturning the dominant codes of the Western musical tradition, her works invite us to reconsider certain social constructions and thus rethink the place of the individual in the community. Her ballads address issues of ecology, gender, vulnerability, invisibility, and otherness.

For her first exhibition in France, Lina Lapelytè takes voice as a starting point to create a musical performance delivered by a choir of people who consider themselves non-musical.

Going against the classical canons that exclude those who sing off-key, The Mutes brings together a group of non-professional performers who do not have a “musical ear”. In this piece, Lina Lapelytè questions the notions of harmony and accuracy and, more broadly, the social conventions and norms that lead to difficulties accepting the other.

The exhibition space is transformed into a landscape of nettles—plants with well-known stinging effects and often misunderstood medicinal properties. Their presence reinforces the symbolic significance of the work, which seeks to undo conceptions of categorisations. The work also reflects on forces that constraint bodies, as alluded to by wearable sculptures of shoes with skewed soles made to straighten one up on a slant surface.

A soundtrack composed by Lapelytè with recorderded contributions by experimental musicians Angharad Davies, Rhodri Davies and John Butcher accompanies the amateur performers while they move and sing in the space continuously throughout the exhibition. The words they sing are extracted from Sean Ashton’s book Living in A Land (Ma Bibliothèque 2017), an ambivalent self-portrait in which the narrator describes what he has never done, no longer does or will never do. These poetic texts call upon our memories, desires, and regrets.

By proposing to make the voices of those who have been deprived of them heard, in this exhibition Lina Lapelytè celebrates polyphony, attentive listening, and individual expression, while questioning the ways in which we can form a chorus and constitute a collective voice.

Curator : Elsa Coustou