Igshaan Adams: Desire Lines

Giovanni Aloi
The Art Institute of Chicago
April 2-August 1, 2022
Igshaan AdamsIgshaan Adams: Desire Lines, exhibition view, 2022.
Photo: courtesy of The Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago
April 2-August 1, 2022
In a fragile balance between the figurative and the abstract, South African artist Igshaan Adams’s quasi-sculptural tapestries, embroideries, and carpets weave together the personal and the universal into a seductive and subtly subversive experience. Desire Lines, at the Art Institute of Chicago, Adams’s first major solo show in the United States, features more than twenty artworks dating from 2014 to the present, along with a new piece specially commissioned by the Art Institute.

Hanging on walls, strewn across the gallery floor, and suspended in mid-air, Adams’s works radiate an ethereal quality — a kind of otherworldly stillness that belongs to the oneiric realm. His impeccably coherent palette of muted olive greens and copper tones tinged with red, beige, and black aesthetically unifies each work into an immersive and brilliant whole. Each work is drawn into dialogue with the other. Beads, shells, glass, rope, wire, and found objects are skillfully arranged and intertwined. From afar they remain invisible — a multitude of coloured specks shimmering under the gallery spotlights. It is only upon closer inspection that the immense intricacy of each work is manifested. The skill in the craft is breathtaking.

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This article also appears in the issue 106 - Pain

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