‘Moveables’ Imagines Our Bodies In Entangled Coexistence
By Chris Murtha for Frieze
October 18, 2023
Technically, the term ‘moveables’ refers to the belongings you can take with you when you leave a residence – anything, so to speak, that is not nailed down. But what if we envision the body as the edifice? What then becomes adaptable or interchangeable? For ‘Moveables’ at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, co-curators Cole Akers and Alex Klein use the titular term as a metaphorical framework, assembling artworks that reconfigure our engagement with the structures and systems that support and shelter the human body.
The presentation has a vaguely theatrical quality, as if the works on display are a collection of props and sets awaiting performers. Ken Lum’s two-part installation of catalogue-perfect furnishings, The Curse Is Come Upon Me. and The Photographer or The Mirror? (both 2023), face and abut mirrors on either side of a stylishly painted partition. His obdurately symmetrical arrangements of sofas and end-tables transform the idealized interiors of showrooms and family sitcoms into illusions of hermetically sealed enclosures, suggesting that seductive ideas of comfort and aspiration can also entrap.