Igshann Adams’ tapestries are composed of colorful nylon rope, gold and silver chains, seashells, wood, and glass beads. Even more intriguing, they are all inspired by remnants of decaying linoleum floors. His exhibition “Veld Wen” is on view at Casey Kaplan Gallery in New York through July 30th, 2021.
The title of the exhibition “Veld Wen” is an Afrikaans phrase that means “to gain ground” and can be read both figuratively and literally. Born in South Africa, Adams references the worn linoleum flooring from the homes of childhood friends and neighbors, elevating the repetitive daily movements within them. After removing the floors for reference, the artist provides his neighbors with new flooring.
Every tapestry is a surprise when you approach. The variety of materials often trigger personal memories or experiences, but also offer unexpected visual treats. Muted brownish colors suddenly explode with color when standing within a few feet, while other areas reveal themselves as high-polished gold or silver chains.
Adams’ own upbringing is multi-layered and complex. He was born Muslim and raised by Christian grandparents in the former “Cape Coloured” township of Bonteheuwel, South Africa. His reworking of the linoleum’s original pathways examines his own complex history while also offering an invitation for viewers to explore their own unique pathways.
Hanging throughout the exhibition are five cloud-like sculptures created from wire fencing and other remnants from the studio. They are inspired by a celebratory dance once performed by his grandparents called ”Rieldans”. The traditional dance kicks and incorporates dust to a stunning effect within the performer’s movements.
“Veld Wen” is an exhibition that ignites curiosity at every turn, sparkles with every step, and finds a comforting connection in all our unique pathways.