Erik Benjamins et al.
For Modern Resting
January 16 – February 21 2021
Marta is overjoyed to host Erik Benjamins’ “For Modern Resting,” an exhibition self-reflexively organized by, and presenting the work of, the Los Angeles-based artist and various collaborators.
Inspired by the joy, sensibility, and humanism of mid-20th-century designer Alexander Girard, “For Modern Resting” carries forward the idea that rest is an inherently vital act. Artist Erik Benjamins, in conversation and collaboration with Shannon Finnegan¹ (New York), Lauren Godfrey² (London), and Norma³ (Los Angeles), has created an inviting and thoughtful environment that welcomes viewers to contemplate how sensory engagement and slowness manifest in daily life.
“For Modern Resting” presents new artworks that converse with the forms of design, the rhythms of domestic space, and the performative potential of writing. Seat cushions feature embroidered text that beckon one to sit; an oversized shoe rack invites visitors to remove their shoes; a pair of wall clocks allude to the limits and possibilities of transatlantic collaboration under quarantine; wall text rendered in airbrushed acrylic presents transcriptions of collected representations of the Sun. These works orbit and contextualize the show’s centerpiece: a modular constellation of sculptural doormats made of hand-pressed tiles that mimic the form and effect of reflexology walking paths.
The exhibition’s namesake references “For Modern Living,” curated by Alexander Girard at the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1949. This immersive show featured a global cohort of designers that embraced then-modern materials to reimagine objects for the home. “For Modern Resting” takes inspiration from this historic exhibition as an extension of a uniquely Girardian spirit, which emphasizes a distinct kind of moving and making under the influence of optimism, curiosity, and empathy.
Erik Benjamins (b. 1986) is a ‘disciplinarily unfaithful’ artist and writer. Recent projects have brought him to Chengdu, China; the Banff Centre, Canada; Spring Workshop, Hong Kong; the Jan Van Eyck Academie in the Netherlands; and the Santa Fe Art Institute, New Mexico.