(Boston, MA–Nov. 14, 2023) On February 13, 2024, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) unveils a monumental, site-specific commission by multidisciplinary artist Igshaan Adams (born 1982 in Cape Town, South Africa). Adams’s woven tapestries point to the interconnectedness of the artist’s spirituality, familial histories, and local community narratives as rooted in his South African heritage. The ambitious new work, entitled Lynloop [Toeing the Line], will be on view from February 13, 2024, to February 15, 2025, in a presentation organized by Ruth Erickson, Barbara Lee Chief Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs. 

Drawing on the notion of “desire lines”—paths created by pedestrians over time that fall outside of sanctioned walkways—Adams visualizes the everyday movements of people through a range of tactile materials to contest fixed boundaries. At the ICA, Adams will transform the first-floor lobby’s Sandra and Gerald Fineberg Art Wall into a multi-part, experimental weaving and sculptural installation conceived in response to the museum’s architecture and the artist’s recollections of post-apartheid South Africa. 

“Igshaan Adams brings a distinct, new voice to the ICA, combining monumentality, tactility and cosmology with a unique combination of materials and techniques, to represent histories of an apartheid and post-apartheid era in South Africa,” said Jill Medvedow, the ICA’s Ellen Matilda Poss Director. “Visitors will encounter this stunning new work as they enter the museum’s first floor lobby, a free and open space for the public.” 

“Adams’s installation at the ICA considers the impact of childhood experiences and memories on the trajectory of one’s life,” said Erickson. “He takes maps of areas where enforced boundaries, such as those formerly used to separate communities along racial castes during the apartheid era, and reframes them with his own observations and fantasies. In this work, pathways between sports fields adjacent to where the artist grew up are softened with hues of pink, mohair, and delicate gold chain.” 

Adams uses aerial images from Google Earth as the basis for his intricate, monumental weavings. In his commission at the ICA, Lynloop, he reproduces the footpaths between a sports field and a walled-off recreational space in Heideveld, a town in Cape Town, South Africa, adjacent to Bonteheuwel, the artist’s hometown. Lynloop is an Afrikaans term formerly used by South African gangs to denote control, or to punish those who stepped out of line. Adams reimagines a “hyper-masculine” territory of his childhood and associated memories to consider both the imprint of early experiences and the potential of other futures. In dialogue with the extensive weavings are enormous suspended metallic, cloud-like sculptures that suggest concentrated areas of movement and human interaction. The artist describes his new work as “a yearning for the beauty and fantasy of what could have been if my environment had allowed for it – forcing a wish onto a memory.”  

The ICA’s Sandra and Gerald Fineberg Art Wall is dedicated to site-specific, commissioned works by leading contemporary artists. Located within the museum’s glass-enclosed lobby, the Sandra and Gerald Fineberg Art Wall is the visitor’s first encounter with art upon entering the building and has featured commissions by Barbara Kruger, Wangechi Mutu, Matthew Ritchie, Gillian Wearing, and Haegue Yang. 

About the ICA    
Since its founding in 1936, the ICA has shared the pleasures of reflection, inspiration, imagination, and provocation that contemporary art offers with its audiences. A museum at the intersection of contemporary art and civic life, the ICA has advanced a bold vision for amplifying the artist’s voice and expanding the museum’s role as educator, incubator, and convener. Its exhibitions, performances, and educational programs provide access to the breadth and diversity of contemporary art, artists, and the creative process, inviting audiences of all ages and backgrounds to participate in the excitement of new art and ideas. The ICA is located at 25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston, MA, 02210. The Watershed is located at 256 Marginal Street, East Boston, MA 02128. For more information, call 617-478-3100 or visit our website at icaboston.org. Follow the ICA on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. 

Media Contact 
Theresa Romualdez, press@icaboston.org 

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: Mario Todeschini, Courtesy of the artist and Casey Kaplan.  

Igshaan Adams, Samesyn, 2023. Installation view 35th Bienal de São Paulo – choreographies of the impossible. Photo by Levi Fanan. Courtesy the artist and Casey Kaplan.