Antoine Catala in the Venice Biennale

Antoine Catala creates new and playful relations between language and reality. Exploring miscommunications, he seeks to unearth some of the ways in which meaning is transmitted via words, signs, texts, emojis—especially across communication platforms. Through his text works and sculptural installations he draws attention to how—often unthinkingly—the way the message is transmitted, rather than the message itself, affects us.

In the Arsenale the installation The Heart Atrophies, 2018-2019 proposes the contemporary equivalent of a medieval rebus, showing how humans have always been in a close, adaptive, flexible relation with the signs that surround them.

At the entrance of the Central Pavilion nine large panels covered in coloured silicone constitute the work It’s Over, 2019. As the air is slowly pumped out from each panel, embossed text is revealed, transmitting ambiguously reassuring messages: “Don’t worry,” “It’s over,”, “Everything is ok,” “Tutto va bene,” “Hey, Relax,”or an image of two teddy bears kissing.