Outside In at ICA, University of Pennsylvania 10.21

This fall Maharam is proud to launch Outside In, a new Maharam Digital Projects series in partnership with Philadelphia’s Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania.

Each year, ICA curatorial staff will invite artists and designers to work in partnership with Maharam Digital Projects to develop site-specific wall installations that will visually transform the ICA’s interior and glass-walled corner at 36th Street. These graphic interventions will activate the space for both visitors to the institution and passersby.

For the inaugural Outside In commission, ICA has asked the graphic designer Na Kim to reimagine the institution’s glass façade and entryway. Kim, who splits her time between Berlin and Seoul, invites the viewer to reconsider the familiar via her use of bold color, pattern, and commonplace signs and symbols. She freely traverses the boundary between fine art and design and works across media, creating dynamic physical environments as well as digital and print pieces.

FFC or From Found Composition is an ongoing project based on the everyday mass-produced printed materials Kim collects. Kim’s installation for Outside In, FFC on 6, 7, 8, reinforces architect Adèle Naudé Santos’s original vision for ICA’s building, which embraced the institution’s location as a nexus where the Penn campus meets the city, and its glass exterior as a way to connect its exhibitions inside with urban life outside. FFC on 6, 7, 8 spans the eastside windows, lobby, mezzanine, and beyond. Kim’s distinctive graphic lines and dotted patterns simultaneously dissect and unify these common areas as well as emphasize the building’s gridded structure.

“It is exciting to work with a designer like Na Kim who balances a research-based, conceptual approach with dynamic formalism,” says Alex Klein, Dorothy and Stephen R. Weber (CHE ’60) Curator. “In her installation FFC on 6, 7, 8 she brings her two-dimensional investigations to life in space and at architectural scale. Kim has brought a new rhythm and welcoming energy to the experience of ICA’s building.”

“I have long admired Maharam’s rigorous commitment to design and their support of progressive art and artists across varied disciplines which very much aligns with our own mission and values,” says Zoë Ryan, Daniel W. Dietrich, II Director. “Their art-forward approach makes Maharam a natural partner as we envision together opportunities to activate ICA’s building, opening it out onto the street in dynamic ways that are visually exciting and welcoming to first-time and return visitors.”

About Na Kim 
Na Kim (b. 1979, Gwangju, South Korea) is a graphic designer based in Seoul and Berlin. After studying product design and graphic design in Korea, Kim participated in Werkplaats Typografie in the Netherlands. From 2009 to 2011 she was responsible for the concept and design of GRAPHIC magazine and since 2015 has initiated a series of projects based on her monograph, SET. Kim has been a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI) since 2016. She currently runs the collective platform Table Union in Berlin. Kim has exhibited her work at venues including MMCA and SeMA, Seoul; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; MoMA, New York; and the Triennale Milano, Milan.

About Maharam Digital Projects 
Maharam Digital Projects is an ongoing series of digitally printed, large-scale wall installations designed in partnership with emerging and established artists. Initiated in 2009, the collection has grown to include over 100 projects with artists including Polly Apfelbaum, Teresita Fernandez, Spencer Finch, Liam Gillick, Marilyn Minter, and Sarah Sze and renowned designers such as Hella Jongerius, Karel Martens, and Paul Smith. 

About Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania 
The Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania is a non-collecting institution that develops and presents exhibitions, commissions, events, publications, and special projects to champion new, experimental, and underrecognized artists and ideas. ICA is committed to developing research at the intersection of interdisciplinary artistic practice and creating impactful experiences through projects that foster meaningful connections between artists and audience as well as the exchange of ideas on art and society. Issues of equity, inclusion, and social justice are core to ICA’s mission. The institution and its staff are committed to advocating for artists, research, and dialogues that contextualize and resonate with the sociopolitical conditions of our time. 

Outside In Na Kim ICA 01

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credit: Constance Mensh

Outside In Na Kim ICA 02

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Outside In Na Kim ICA 03

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Outside In Na Kim ICA 04

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Outside In Na Kim ICA 05

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Outside In Na Kim ICA 06

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credit: Constance Mensh