Oríkì (Act II): Tales by Moonlight
December 6 – 10 2023
Photograph by Olajide Ayeni
Join us in Miami for the gallery’s inaugural participation in the city’s December fairs.
Convention Center Drive
and 19th Street
Miami Beach, FL 33139
Tues. December 05
by Invitation Only
Dec. 06, 1 – 7PM
Dec. 07, 11AM – 7PM
Dec. 08, Noon – 7PM
Dec. 09, Noon – 7PM
Dec. 10, Noon – 6PM
Tales by Moonlight
Marta is pleased to announce Oríkì (Act II): Tales by Moonlight, an exhibition of functional sculptures by Lagos, Nigeria-based artist and designer Nifemi Marcus-Bello. The second act in the Oríkì series—the first, Friction Ridge, was presented by the gallery earlier this year in Los Angeles—continues its exploration of identity, materiality, and craft production. Calling to question abstracted versus intrinsic value, this new mono-material outing takes as its focus sand-cast aluminum.
Named for the beloved children’s television series of the same name (aired on Sundays from 1984–2002 on the Nigerian Television Authority), Tales by Moonlight highlights the personal and collective narratives at the core of the designer’s interactions with region- and need-specific craft communities in and around his hometown.
Marcus-Bello began interrogating issues of globalization, production chains, and supply-and-demand dynamics after developing a relationship with a group of autopart casters in Lagos who’d helped repair his personal automobile. Each question he posed—what is a material’s role in society? How does it get here? Who is in charge of its lifecycle?—led back to a cottage industry that has emerged across West Africa to fabricate the parts needed for the second-cycle cars that arrive in the region from the United States and Europe, many of which have fallen prey to the generally-accepted and highly-destructive practice of planned obsolescence. These auotopart facsimiles, constructed in sand-cast aluminum—the quickest, most affordable, and most recyclable material readily available—ensure the life of imported cars, which, in their original country of purchase are often deemed too expensive or difficult to maintain once their manufacturers cease to make the parts necessary for their upkeep.
Marcus-Bello’s exploration of this industry reflects the politics of use in both local and global markets. Through his relationship with these autoparts casters in Lagos, Marcus-Bello was exposed to a material-specific craft that underpins a significant mechanism of transport in Nigeria (4WD vehicles are particularly valuable due to infrastructural demands), which he has integrated into his own practice, collaborating with the same craftsmen to help realize these new designs.
Together, they have produced a body of work that pays homage to the nation’s rich history of craft (previously, Marcus-Bello worked alongside the famed bronze masters of Benin City) while highlighting the designer’s central interest in process and traditional, often vernacular, methods of fabrication. In this collection of formally-related typologies of seating, tabling, presentation, and spatial division, a series of cones, planes, discs, and bowls abstractly reference forms often found in the formalized industrial design of autoparts, thus reframing the cultural, economic, and material genesis of Marcus-Bello’s work.
Nifemi Marcus-Bello (b. 1988) is a Lagos, Nigeria-based designer. Recognized for his community-oriented, ethnographic approach to design and its adjacencies, Marcus-Bello exploits material constraints in pursuit of new forms. His interest in manufacturing scales, production availability, and design anthropology have led to accolades from Architectural Digest (2023), Hublot / LVMH (2022), and Wallpaper* (2021). In 2022, Marcus-Bello’s LM Stool was acquired by the Design Museum, London. In 2023, his Friction Ridge Bench was acquired by The Art Institute of Chicago. This is the artist’s second solo presentation with the gallery.