Moveables brings together the work of five artists—Jes Fan, Nikita Gale, Hannah Levy, Ken Lum, and Oren Pinhassi—who are rethinking functional design and its intimate relationship to the human body. Whether reminiscent of a living room, lighting rig, toothbrush holder, or chandelier, these artworks invite us to imagine new possibilities for the objects that shape our daily lives, including who they are made for and how they might be used.
The word “moveables” refers to any article in a building, such as furniture, that is not fixed in place. Originally developed as a legal term to describe property, the word also playfully implies dynamic motion and fluidity. This tension between sculpture and theater is suggested through the show’s installation as a series of discrete scenes.
The artists’ works probe the tensions between public and private, real and imaginary. Fan’s works, partially created from casts of his own body, trouble binary conceptions of human and animal, race and gender. Gale’s installation speaks to the underlying structures embedded within pop culture and technology. Levy’s fantastic forms conjure gendered critiques of high modernism with a focus on bodily awareness. Lum’s uncanny furniture settings are equally concerned with histories of art and markers of class, identification, and exclusion. And Pinhassi’s sensuous sculptures explore a porous relationship between the human figure, nature, and the built environment and how they intersect through public and private exchange.
Each ensemble invites us to reconsider the constructed world around us, suggesting that design is not only a reflection of who we are and how we are conditioned, but also a proposal for other ways of being.
Moveables is co-curated by Alex Klein, Head Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs, The Contemporary Austin, and Cole Akers, Curator and Associate Director of Special Projects, The Glass House. The exhibition is organized by Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania.
Support for Moveables has been provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. Additional support has been provided by Danielle M. Anderman, Carol & John Finley, Stacey & Benjamin Frost, Patricia & Howard Silverstein, Meredith & Bryan Verona, Caroline & Daniel Werther, and The Study at University City.