Igshaan Adams, Bonteheuwel / Epping, 2021. Wood, painted wood, plastic, bone, stone and glass beads, seashells, polyester and nylon rope, cotton rope, link chain, wire (memory and galvanized steel), cotton twine, 194.88 x 460.63 x 127.95″ / 495 x 1170 x 325cm. Photo by Mario Todeschini. Courtesy of the artist.
Multidisciplinary artist Igshaan Adams (born 1982 in Cape Town, South Africa) explores how people inhabit and move through space. Adams utilizes practices of weaving to make visible everyday patterns of movement that speak to forms of care, survival, and resistance in post-apartheid South Africa. Adams’s recent large-scale woven tapestries point to the interconnectedness of the artist’s spirituality, sexuality, and familial histories as rooted in his South African heritage, as well as the fraught land use in the region. He draws inspiration from the urban planning term “desire lines”—paths created by pedestrians over time that fall outside of planned walkways. In Adams’s practice and in South Africa, the establishment of desire lines represents an act of transgression in the face of fixed boundaries enforced by the government during the apartheid era to forcibly separate communities along racial castes.
Lynnloop, Adams’s monumental new commission for the ICA/Boston, is a multipart experimental weaving developed in response to the architecture of the museum and the artist’s childhood memories. It is based on aerial images of the intersecting footpaths between a sports field and a walled-off recreational space south of where Adams grew up. Through the work, Adams considers the impact of childhood experiences and memories on the trajectory of one’s life. He writes, “In sitting with the discomfort of growing up among these hypermasculine spaces, the installation explores how I have had to superimpose my own fantasies onto memories in a way that softens the hard edges and coldness of this area.” In hues of pink with beads, rope, chain, and mohair, Lynnloop is a stunning and tactile mapping of space, human interaction, and memory.