Minjae Kim, I Was Evening All Afternoon


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Minjae Kim
I Was Evening All Afternoon
July 10 – August 29 2021

Freud Chair, 2021
Photograph by Kimari Hazward

‘A Poignancy of the Familiar’

Marta is delighted to host the first solo exhibition of works by New York-based, Seoul-born designer and furniture-maker Minjae Kim. “I Was Evening All Afternoon” opens to the public on July 10 and is on view at Marta’s Los Angeles space through August 29, 2021.

In 2019, Kim began making works from his home studio that would come to define and establish his burgeoning solo practice, and has since developed a unique visual and material language that skillfully and unexpectedly incorporates hand-carved wood, fiberglass, and lacquer across seating, lighting, case pieces, and a menagerie of objets. The works in “I Was Evening ...” deftly reference and mimic several traditional typologies of Western furniture that have always fascinated Minjae in their specificity and idiosyncrasy.

In the far corner of the gallery, a sculptural beechwood desk interacts with a chair inspired by the one found in Sigmund Freud’s Vienna office; elsewhere, an interpretation of a chaise lounge dialogues with a lacquered cabinet and fiberglass vase; up front, a low-slung praying chair rests atop a vintage rug displaying a knowing confusion of Asian and Art Deco motifs. This one space, with its gently-prescribed set of activities, can be understood as a theatre for life.

“In his carved works of wood and fiberglass, Minjae makes a poignancy of the familiar,” writes Su Wu. “By allowing rituals of life and their affiliated embellishments to be misconstrued, Minjae’s furniture turns the Western decorative canon into a romantic imagination — inverting the modernist appropriation of non-Western aesthetics.”

Minjae Kim (b. 1989, Seoul) lives and works in Ridgewood, Queens. An alumnus of the Architecture program at Columbia University’s GSAPP, Kim has recently spent time working with AD100 design firm Studio Giancarlo Valle, and has been featured prominently in trade publications Architectural Digest, Pin-Up, Milk, and the forthcoming Cero, as well as Tatiana Bilbao’s Two Sides of the Border. “I Was Evening All Afternoon” is Kim’s first-ever solo exhibition.

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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.