Lee Mingwei, The Mending Project
In the Mending Project, Taiwanese artist Lee Mingwei invites audiences to bring articles of clothing that require mending. However, unlike a tailor whose goal is to hide the tear and restore the article to its original state, Mingwei’s gesture celebrates the rip by leaving a visible mark of brightly colored thread, chosen by the participant.
The core of the project is the conversation between the participant and the mender as he/she repairs the garment. The gallery installation consists of a custom-designed wooden table, 2 chairs (one for the mender and one for the audience member) and a wall dotted with cones of embroidery thread, each attached to the items of clothing it has been used to mend, which are then folded on the desk. The work has previously been staged at Lombard Freid gallery in New York in 2009.
How it works:
There will be an open call to audiences to bring items of clothing to be mended. The menders will mend the piece of clothing on site. Once sewn with the coloured threads chosen by the visitor, each item of clothing will be tagged, folded and put in a pile on one end of the table. The items of clothing will slowly accumulate over the course of the exhibition. On the last day of the exhibition, visitors will be asked to return to the site to collect their pieces. The focus in the artwork is on the process of mending as a way to build trust, sociability, intimacy and a sense of community between strangers.