Minjae Kim’s Sculptural, Symbolic Furniture, on View in Miami
The Miami-based gallerist Nina Johnson first became acquainted with the multidisciplinary designer Minjae Kim last summer when she saw his work at Marta, a gallery in Los Angeles. She immediately acquired a sculptural floor lamp built of highly lacquered dark Douglas fir with a fiberglass shade. And when she decided to add a library space to her gallery complex in Little Haiti, all designed by Charlap Hyman & Herrero, she knew she wanted to commission Kim to create furniture for it. “I wanted to show an artist whose work would engage with the architecture,” she explains. The New York-based Kim was born in Seoul and his work is often inspired by his multicultural identity; his wood and fiberglass chairs, tables, lamps and cabinets are typically crafted using Korean techniques and are often loaded with references both personal and historic. “The chair that I make can have more meaning than just a place to sit,” Kim says. “I try to hide the fact that the objects I make have a function.” For the opening of Johnson’s library, the 33-year-old designer created an exhibition of unique pieces under the name “IYKYK” — if you know, you know. To Kim it means that “someone with a Korean background will see another layer.” He was inspired by ancient Asian objects that he’s been researching for years, such as a traditional ceremonial chair and a light in the shape of a moon jar. “Being multicultural sometimes means you enter a realm of endless confusion,” says Kim. “But then it does make things that much more interesting.”
“Minjae Kim: IYKYK” is on view from Nov. 28 to Jan. 7, 2023, ninajohnson.com.