Open Calls for the Exhibition Lee Mingwei 2020

Gropius Bau

Press release from 23 October 2019

Running from 27 March 2019 to 7 June 2020

Lee Mingwei’s artistic practice is primarily concerned with rituals of giving and receiving. From 27 March to 7 June 2020, the Gropius Bau will present a solo exhibition by the artist, showing his installations and performances from the last thirty years. Central to the exhibition is an exploration of art’s potential to be a transformative gift. In Lee’s works immaterial gifts such as song, conversation or contemplation are given and received. For many of his projects the starting point are Lee’s personal encounters, which are then transformed into installations. In The Letter Writing Project or The Mending Project a common space is created in the exhibition where visitors are given the opportunity to enter into exchange, allowing rituals of care and healing to unfold.

Curated by Stephanie Rosenthal, Director of the Gropius Bau, with Clare Molloy, Assistant Curator

Open Calls

For this exhibition the artist is putting out open calls for three of his participatory projects: he is seeking fabric items that have sentimental value, looking for menders and conversationalists, and people with unique collections they would like to share. Deadline for applications for all calls is Tuesday, 3.12.2019, 17:00. To apply please follow the respective links to the open calls below.

Fabric of Memory
Fabric of Memory reveals how personal histories can be archived in objects. Ahead of the exhibition Lee Mingwei invites the local community to submit personal clothing and other fabric items that were made for them. These items will then be displayed in wooden boxes. When a museum visitor opens one of the wooden boxes, they find not only the fabric object, but a very personal story which reveals the intimate relationship between the object’s receiver and its maker.

“I would like you to search your homes for such items, ones that you have treasured and kept, and write down all you can remember about them – who made them, when, how they were used, and whatever other memories and associations they evoke.”
– Lee Mingwei
Link to open call

The Mending Project
The Mending Project is an interactive conceptual installation. Simple elements – thread, colours, sewing – serve as the point of departure for conversations between strangers.

Offering the ritual of repairing, Lee Mingwei invites visitors to bring clothes in need of attentionto the Gropius Bau. Either the artist himself or chosen menders then sew these articles. The sewn clothes are then attached by threads to spools on the wall, forming an ever-growing installation. For this, Lee Mingwei is seeking hosts to engage in conversation with visitors while mending the textile items. At the end of the exhibition there will be a ritual to ceremonially cut the threads that link the clothes in the installation, allowing the repaired items to be collected by their owners.

“Unlike a tailor, who will try to hide the fact that the fabric was once damaged, my mending is done with the idea of celebrating the repair, as if to say, something good was done here, a gift was given, this fabric is even better than before.”
– Lee Mingwei
Link to open call

The Living Room
In The Living Room, the artist transforms a museum gallery into a living room, allowing volunteers to act as hosts. These individual hosts are invited to bring in their own collections of objects that have personal or aesthetic significance to them, and to engage visitors in dialogue about the objects.

Every week, a volunteer will be selected to play the role of the living room’s host and share their personal collection of treasured objects, creating an exhibition within an exhibition. This project raises questions such as, “Why do we collect?”, “What do our collections say about us?” and “How do we relate to our collections?”
Link to open call


Annie-Claire Geisinger
Head of Communications
Gropius Bau

+49 30 254 86 124


A selection of images in printable resolution is available here.