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COMME des MARXISTS was an exhibition of works by Austrian-American artist Rainer Ganahl exploring the relationships between daily life, culture, economic systems and political structures.

COMME des MARXISTS exhibition view at Fashion Space Gallery, 2018. Photo Katy Davies

Rainer Ganahl’s long-term project, including clothing, jewellery, videos and performances, was a contemporary analysis of how capitalism works. Creating connections between the industrial revolution, the on-going class struggles, the notion of sustainability, tragedies such as the collapse of Rana Plaza clothing factories in Bangladesh, the production and consumption of luxury goods, and both fine art and fashion, the exhibition COMME des MARXISTS challenged our understanding of the fashion system.

Using a playful, humorous, yet thought-provoking approach, Rainer Ganahl drew inspiration from sources as diverse as artists Kazimir Malevich, Blinky Palermo, Joseph Beuys, and Richard Serra; designer Karl Lagerfeld; fashion houses Comme des Garçons and Hermes; high street brands such as Benetton and Joe Fresh, and whistleblower Edward Snowden.  

COMME des MARXISTS encompassed Ganahl’s prolific work grouped into a series of fashion collections. Each collection exploring a specific aspect of our capitalistic society: from privileged education to labour exploitation, from security and control to environmental pollution.

The collections on show were named with significant titles like: Marx 4 Kids; Karl Marx Said...; Marx 99 Cents; Karl Marx Speaks Chinese; There is only ONE KARL/FELT belongs to everybody TM 1867 / 1970 / 2013; Marx Toxic; Devil’s Dust— Engels; The Condition of the Working Class; Marx Middle Class Squeeze; Karl Marx Wears Prada; Karl Marx Dressing Up; Marx Sex Work; Marx Cover Up— Opium;; Joe Fresh Benetton; Bangladesh, Rana Plaza Building Collapse, More Than Eleven Hundred People Died, 2013; Snowden Marx Security; Lottery Economics; HERMÈS—MARX; Karl Marx Visits David Zwirner on 20th Street; COMME des MARXISTS; Karl Marx SUPERSTRUCTURE and the newly commissioned Sustainability Fairy Tales.  

Presented for the first time in the UK, at Fashion Space Gallery, London. The COMME des MARXISTS exhibition was part of the 10 year anniversary of Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF) at London College of Fashion.

Project Outcomes

COMME des MARXISTS, was shown from 5 October 2018 – 12 January 2019, at Fashion Space Gallery, London.

A solo exhibition presenting for the very first time in the UK Rainer Ganahl’s ongoing project COMME des MARXISTS. The exhibition was part of the year-long celebration for the Centre for Sustainable Fashion’s 10 year anniversary and London College of Fashion Arts Programme’s 2018 programme around sustainability held at Arcade East.

Noted as one of ‘the best exhibitions to see in London during frieze’ according to i-D - Online​.

The exhibition was accompanied by a fully illustrated booklet including a conversation between Rainer Ganahl and Camilla Palestra. Alongside this – we offered Exhibition Tours with Curator Camilla Palestra and a Manifesto Workshop with CSF's Anna Fitzpatrick.

Project Team

  • Project by Rainer Ganahl  

  • Curator – Camilla Palestra

  • Graphic Designer – Studio LP

  • Project Manager – Polona Dolžan

  • Project Assistant –  Saphia Abrahamovitch-Venner Garment  

  • Installation – Kat Thiel

  • Technical Install – Fergus O’Connor, Steven Legget

  • Exhibition commissioned by Ligaya Salazar, Director of Fashion Space Gallery

Contact for the project 

Camilla Palestra, Associate Curator at Centre for Sustainable Fashion, UAL.


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