Performance: She Wears Her Nerves on Her Sleeve
A durational performance by artist Irina Laaja.
Irina Laaja asks questions about what a body is and can be, and about the relationship between the “body” and the “self”. Her practice is both conceptual and confessional, with a strong focus on the process and her own body.
She Wears Her Nerves on Her Sleeve is partly a performance piece, partly a portable sculpture in which Irina Laaja took her starting point in a nervous breakdown and what this would look like if it took its own form. If we wore our nerves on the outside, what colours would they be? What shape, what movement? The sculpture is made from recycled clothes, which have been cut into yarn, crocheted, and sewn together into an abstract form. During the performance act, she wears the form and tries to move in it while relating to the exhibition spaces and situations in the building. The textile work becomes an extension of her body and at the same time an abstract form of its own.
Irina Laaja (b. 1989 in Vaasa, Finland) is today based in Malmö, but received her master’s degree from the Umeå Academy of Fine Arts in 2020. Her background in fashion design has influenced her artistic practice. As part of the fashion industry, she took a critical view of its relationship to the body and materials, and as an artist she has changed direction and begun to include the body in a new way. Laaja mainly works with textiles and sculpture in mixed materials, often with techniques and methods associated with craft or pattern construction, and likes to use recycled, organic or otherwise environmentally friendly materials and methods. Crochet often appears in Irina Laaja’s work and the repetitive, monotonous work process interests her.