Marta at Frieze Los Angeles
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Marta at Frieze Los Angeles
A History of Frogs & Minjae Kim
February 17 – 20 2022

Play-Logic

On the occasion of Frieze Los Angeles and as part of the fair’s Focus L.A. feature section, Marta is pleased to showcase new works by Seoul-born, New York-based Minjae Kim and local Los Angeles practice A History of Frogs. While outwardly disparate studios distanced by US coastal locations, Kim and AHoF are constellated practitioners, connected through the gallery’s commitment to the interstitial spaces of art and function. For the occasion, Marta has sought to lay groundwork for artistic dialogue between these artists, who have each expanded their typological pursuits and material investigations while working closely with the gallery and consequently informing one another’s processes.

Seemingly excavated from the oceanic remnants of a fictitious past, A History of Frogs’ objects retain an unearthed preciousness, glittering along patins of sinuous forms. Spindling wall works hang at the brink of kineticism, teasing their capacity for modularity. A fence-like work, whispering verdant tones of aged copper, clings to a wall like inflated chainmail. A bronze candelabra wrought self-reflexively via lost-wax casting perches as a gargoyle of unique form, its organic and incremental creation monumentalized through the strength of metal. There is a suggested history in the objects that comprise AHoF’s practice: a trace of some other life, a formal quality that endures as Biado and Pinter’s practice expands beyond the membrane of wearable forms—the duo has previously rendered rings, pendants, necklaces in similarly goblin-baroque fashion. Some kernel of the keepsake is cherished, tethering A History of Frogs’ new experiments back to the body and an object’s capacity to remember something lost long ago.

While AHoF imagines imprints of the past, Minjae Kim predicts playfulness, seduces through functionality, and brings us into tactile devotion. A table of stained, lacquered, curving wood anchors the installation as a site of play, peppered with knobbed forms like a tree’s knots, each of which ask us to imagine their inception or purpose (one is, in fact, a corkscrew). A pivoting body of bamboo limbs balances fiberglass lamp forms that enhance a bulb’s candescence and illuminate what is at stake in Kim’s work. A table becomes a puzzle, a handle transmutes into a paperweight, a lamp becomes a limb, and the anthropomorphic sensibility of Kim’s forms are laid bare. From his predictive bodily impressions carved into wood, to the idiosyncratic silhouettes of his quilted fiberglass vessels, Kim insists on the invitation to actuate form and produce generative artistic meaning through materiality and touch.

A History of Frogs is an emerging Los Angeles-based hybrid practice by Antonia Pinter (b. 1988, Seattle, WA) and Chase Biado (b. 1985, Portland, OR), culled from ongoing collaborations that explore material transformation made visible through form-making and playful investigation into how objects change the way we live. A History of Frogs makes evident the fluid dialogue between making and seeing, beginning and remembering. The project’s first solo exhibition will debut at Marta in November of 2022.

Minjae Kim (b. 1989, Seoul, KR) lives and works in Ridgewood, Queens. An alumnus of the Architecture program at Columbia University’s GSAPP, Kim recently spent time working with design firm Studio Giancarlo Valle, and has been featured prominently in trade publications Architectural Digest, Pin-Up, Milk, Cero, as well as Tatiana Bilbao’s Two Sides of the Border. Kim's inaugural solo exhibition was held at Marta in the Summer of 2021.

Watch ‘Inventing Reality’ with A History of Frogs.

Marta

Marta is a gallery that hosts works at the meeting points of art and design. Founded in Los Angeles in 2019, the gallery makes space for artists to experiment with the utility of design, and for designers to explore the occasional abandonment of function. Marta’s curatorial and publication programs take interest in both the process of an object’s creation as well the narrative of its creator(s). Marta embraces the intersection of disciplines, advocates for diversity in design, and promotes access to the arts.