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Karyn Olivier: Everything That’s Alive Moves, on View at ICA Philadelphia Through May 10

A solo exhibition of large-scale sculptures by Karyn Olivier explores the emotional weight of monuments at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania.

Karyn Olivier, “Moving the Obelisk” (2019-20), cardboard, dirt, wood, tape, glue, hardware, single-channel color video, sound, 180 x 42 x 42 inches (image courtesy the artist)

The Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania (ICA) presents Karyn Olivier: Everything That’s Alive Moves, a solo exhibition of six large-scale sculptures by Philadelphia-based artist Karyn Olivier. This exhibition offers the rare opportunity to examine the recent trajectories of Olivier’s investigation into memorials and monuments, and their relation to issues of citizenship and individual responsibility. The exhibition, on view January 24 through May 10, 2020, builds on several public projects and commissions created by the artist in recent years and continues to revise, rework, and expand on key works from her past.

Everything That’s Alive Moves brings together two tactics the artist has focused on in recent years: architectural scale and the minute, modest gesture. A fully-functioning carousel for one rider, a car made entirely of repurposed shoes — gathered for export to poor countries — and a brick wall built using clothing wedged between the bricks as mortar, are among the older works reimagined and constructed on-site at ICA.

Karyn Olivier’s recent thinking has been centered on civic space — specifically monuments and memorials, driven in part by her planning, building, and writing for several public commissions and memorials.

Three new sculptures reflect Olivier’s 2018–19 year of study in Rome, investigating the city’s ruins, histories, and public works. These sculptures also offer a chance to attune ourselves to her care for the accumulation of often-overlooked patterns, and how monuments have embedded in them the perpetual irresolution of overlapping histories.

Visit icaphila.org for more information on Karyn Olivier: Everything That’s Alive Moves. ICA admission is always free. For all.  

Karyn Olivier: Everything That’s Alive Moves continues at the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania (118 S. 36th Street Philadelphia, PA 19104) through May 10. The exhibition is organized by Anthony Elms, ICA Daniel and Brett Sundheim Chief Curator. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated monograph that will be released in 2020.