SUMMER NIGHT SPLEEN
MX Gallery is pleased to announce a residency and exhibition with Rainer Ganahl. Rather than a typical exhibition, Ganahl will be taking over the gallery for a loosely defined, laboratory of a residency entitled SUMMER NIGHT SPLEEN.
SUMMER NIGHT SPLEEN will begin with a fashion show entitled PLEASE, TEACH ME CHINESE / PLEASE, TEACH ME ITALIAN - MARX A PRATO / GUCCI A PRATO. Originally created for the Museum of Prato and funded by the city, the final presentation was disrupted by museum and government officials when the artist projected news clips of local conflicts. Ganahl re-dramatizes this presentation for MX Gallery, a space utilized for years by Manhattan’s textile industry and that sits in a section of New York's Chinatown formerly considered Little Italy.
Located outside of Florence, Prato has been the center of the Italian textile industry since the Middle Ages. While the city is still proudly producing luxury clothing with tags reading “Made in Italy,” in recent years the demographics of the people producing these garments has changed dramatically. Currently, Prato has one of the largest Chinese immigrant populations in Europe, second only to Paris. Unfortunately, like many instances where capital, technology, and industry are at their best (and worst), Chinese laborers and organizational talent find themselves confronted with both racism and hatred.
Ganahl’s initial project in Prato, a fashion collection and runway show which included projected images and video clips of riots and police harassment of Chinese workers received an extremely negative response from its sponsoring bodies. The artist became the subject of verbal humiliation and was physically assault by Centro Pecci museum staff and the co-commissioning PR director of the city of Prato. Consequently, the art works and all media representations of Ganhal’s work were confiscated and only partially returned to the artist after he hired legal aid. In January, 2019, as part of a re-presentation of the artwork at Kunsthalle Vienna, Rainer Ganahl projected a non- disclosure agreement he was coerced into signing onto the wall, violating its very content. The artist doesn’t see himself as a victim but understands these brutal events as a harbinger for the racist turn in Italy and beyond.
The remnants of the fashion show on July 11th will remain on display at MX Gallery for the following weeks, serving to frame other elements of SUMMER NIGHT SPLEEN. As part of his residency, beginning on July 24th, Ganahl will continue his on-going projects STRANGE LEARNING and PLEASE, TEACH ME CHINESE. These consist of conversations, public talks, and ‘interactions’ to listen, learn, and create art of a dialogical nature. He will also oversee a MARX ANGELS’ DUST, a trash recycling project that focuses on textile debris from fashion designers in reference to Friedrich Engels DEVIL’S DUST; the lumpen of the early 19th century Manchester working force. Volunteers will be recruited to reassemble snippets of textile debris collected from the design studios of known fashion labels. In a form of labor camp, a new garment will be created from random textile pieces and tailored into aprons without the identification of the individual pieces.