October 13, 2021
Maharam Launches Outside In at ICA, University of Pennsylvania

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.”

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