Moveables at ICA Philadelphia

Moveables at ICA Philadelphia

I recently visited ICA Philly to explore the exhibition titled “Movables,” featuring five remarkable artists: Jes Fan, Nikita Gale, Hannah Levy, Ken Lum, and Oren Pinhassi. These artists are reimagining functional design and its intimate connection to the human body. In the context of this exhibition, “movables” encompass any non-permanent articles within a building, such as furniture. As I wandered through the gallery, I couldn’t help but reflect on the idea that we, as visitors, are also “movables” in this space, constantly navigating to take in the diverse artworks on display. I found it intriguing how the exhibition’s press release failed to capture the depth of conceptual thought required to fully grasp and appreciate the artworks.

Upon entering the gallery, Jes Fan’s sculptural creations immediately caught my attention. They evoked images of precious gem-encrusted crustaceans, skillfully crafted and seamlessly blending into the surrounding environment, their forms flowing like liquid. Oren Pinhassi’s sculptures, crafted from sand, burlap, and plaster, transported me to a world where natural materials like earth, water, and fertilizer were the only tools needed for creation and growth. His work “Untitled, 2019” brought a smile to my face, as I initially mistook the green branch pads for mint leaves and the sculpture for toothpaste, only to discover its invitation to “oral activity.” His “One in the Mouth, Ine in the Heart, 2018” piece, composed of umbrellas, humorously represented being out of alignment, and the cup holder added a layer of whimsy, suggesting the collection of others’ problems.

Hannah Levy’s sculptures conjured images of prehistoric bird traps with their fierce talon-like forms, juxtaposed against the gallery’s lighting. In “Untitled, 2021,” steel talons seemed to tear or stretch silicone resembling human skin, creating a captivating blend of discomfort and fascination. I regretted missing the performance associated with “Untitled, 2023,” as I imagined something epic involving steel heels. Ken Lum’s couch installation triggered nostalgic memories of childhood sleepovers and the excitement of assembling living room couches for acrobatics inspired by superhero films. The mirrors in the installation, a common fixture in many Black families’ homes in Philadelphia, added depth to the narrative. The setup, with one side promoting closeness and the other fostering individualized seating, subtly encourages reflection on familial bonds and the passage of time.

Nikita Gale’s work initially gave me the impression of being a production associated with the exhibition until a gallery attendant clarified its nature. During our conversation, we delved into the role of pop culture and the direction of light in selecting stars. It struck me how light, much like one’s time in the “spotlight,” moves swiftly—an allusion that resonated with Warholian sensibilities.

In conclusion, my visit to ICA Philly’s “Movables” exhibition was a thought-provoking journey into the world of contemporary art, where functional design intersects with the human experience. The artists—Jes Fan, Nikita Gale, Hannah Levy, Ken Lum, and Oren Pinhassi—each offered a unique perspective on this theme, leaving a lasting impression.

Words by Badir McCleary.


Relational Chemistry

Relational Chemistry

ArtAboveReality is pleased to present “Relational Chemistry: An Introspective of Urban Experience”, a group survey highlighting nineteen contemporary artists in the city of Philadelphia. Focusing on their grassroots origins, “Relational History: A Introspective of Urban Experience” speaks to the artists using their practice to realize and then share their identities, an entrance, for the viewer, into the artist’s inner selves. 

Oct 16th — 20th, 2018

Ivben Studios, Philadelphia, PA

Curators Statement

With urbanism being diverse and lively, advancing in technology, and shifting capital investment, It is shaped by power and wealth, as well as imagination and labor layered with intertwined cultural and social histories. The work manifests itself in facets of painting, sculpture, and interactive installations, centering on the interpretation of culture, society, identity, and the complex but meaningful conversations relating to contemporary issues of urbanism and human chemistry. While the members of this show come from diverse backgrounds, it is this chemistry that ties their experiences and practices together.

Artists In The Exhibition:
Aubrie Costello, Holly Colaguori, Bariq Cobbs, Nema Etebar, Claes Gabriel, Kenneth Jackson, Caryn Kunkle, Nile Livingston, June Lopez, Alloyius McIlwaine, IvbenTaqiy, Taji Ra’oof Nahl, Dejeonge Reese, Serena Saunders, Richard Tenaglia, Ellen Tiberino, Gabe Tiberino, Raphael Tiberino, and Derrick Woodyard.

The exhibit will be on view to the public from October 16th through 20th. Press release and show imagery available upon request. Please contact [email protected] for more information. “Relational Chemistry: An Introspective of Urban Experience” is located at 3239 Amber Street., Philadelphia, PA 19134. Stay updated with ArtAboveReality on Instagram (@ArtAboveReality)  via the hashtags #ArtAboveReality, #RelationalChemistry. Also, visit us at All images are subject to copyright. Gallery approval must be granted prior to reproduction.