Sunday, 21 November 2010

Lee Mingwei - The Mending Project

Lee Mingei was lovely. 

Most of his work involves asking strangers to join him in everyday activities.

In 'The Mending Project' he invites members of the public to come in and have him fix an item of clothing, while they sit and chat. After hes finished he keeps the clothing until the end of the project, letting them build up as a reminder of the people hes met.

Lee explained to us that the project came out of living in New York at the time of the 9/11 disasters. When people were allowed back into their apartment to collect belongings, he gathered all his mending equipment. He said the city felt so broken it was the only thing he could do.

Instead of covering up the tear or fault in the clothes being bought to him, he darns them using brightly coloured threads and beads to highlight the area, that should now be associated with the moment and conversation with Lee about their lives.

Lee Mingwei was only in Liverpool for two weeks, after that he passed the project onto other 'menders'. I haven't been back to the project since he left, so i cant comment on whether the piece still works, but i find it hard to imagine that it does. I think that Lee has alot to do with how people open up in the project, he made it seem so personal, even though the set up is in fact very staged, and i think it would take someone very speical to get the same reaction from people.

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