Auto Italia – Collecting Dissonance by CFGNY

21 May – 22 August 2021
Auto Italia, London


Project description

The Bagri Foundation has supported Collecting Dissonance, a newly commissioned exhibition of sculpture, image and garment works by the New York collective and label CFGNY.

The exhibition takes a new capsule collection of garments as its starting point. The clothes explore how personal and collective intimacies, relationships and agencies have been reshaped by the restrictions and instability caused by the ongoing pandemic, and the consequent heightening of power differentials along the lines of class and race.

The garments are presented as a part of a sculptural installation, which employs motifs and visual languages drawn from the group’s ongoing examination of the economic and social contexts of ‘cuteness’: subcultural commodity aesthetics that include kawaii (かわいい) in Japan, Kě’ài (可爱) in China and Aegyo (애교) in South Korea. These cultural phenomena have been transformed into global economic exports, which are readily consumed and appropriated across Asia, the US and other Western economies.

Read the full exhibition text on our Events page here and the Press Release here.

Accompanying the exhibition is an upcoming programme of digital commissions by an international community of artists and scholars, exploring issues surrounding labour, value and identity. This includes one day of guest programming on Montez Press Radio, produced between their London and New York studios. Collaborators TBA.

Collecting Dissonance is commissioned and produced by Auto Italia and has been made possible by Headline Exhibition Supporters Cockayne – Grants for the Arts and London Community Foundation, with additional support from Bagri Foundation and Henry Moore Foundation. The radio broadcast is commissioned and produced by Montez Press Radio.

CFGNY (Concept Foreign Garments New York) began in 2016 as an ongoing dialogue between Tin Nguyen and Daniel Chew on the intersections of fashion, race, identity and sexuality. Joined by Kirsten Kilponen and Ten Izu in 2020, CFGNY continually returns to the term ‘vaguely Asian’: an understanding of racial identity as a specific cultural experience combined with the experience of being perceived as other. CFGNY does not wish to represent what it means to be ‘Asian’ in the singular; instead, it encourages the visualization of the countless ways one is able to be in the plural. Recent presentations include Etage Projects, Copenhagen (2020), Rhode Island School of Design, Providence (2019), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2018), 47 Canal, New York (2017).

Montez Press Radio An offshoot of Montez Press, Montez Press Radio was founded in 2018 with the goal of fostering greater experimentation and conversation between artists, writers, and thinkers through the medium of radio. This platform is an experiment in broadcasting and community building which allows different corners of the art world to interact with each other in person and on air—a place where media finally meets flesh. Offering space and time to both the established and emerging or underrepresented, we are drawn to art that exists in the unexpected, the authenticity of sharing without a script, the sounds of ideas in the making, conversation that forgets there’s an audience. We strive to question current knowledge economies while doing our best to interrupt commercial means of communication.

Organiser’s bio

Auto Italia was founded in 2007 by a group of artists who were living, working and commissioning new exhibitions from a squatted car garage in Peckham, South London. It is an artist-run organisation and project space that commissions new work, bringing together international networks of artists committed to the development of emerging practices and discussions in contemporary art. They support early and mid-career artists to develop discourse, active research and experimental projects. This focuses on collaborative models for producing and distributing artwork, and is made possible through the development of relationships and conversations with artists, grassroots networks, and a growing peer network of artist-led organisations in the UK and internationally.