About

What is a body? How do we relate to our own, and those of others? 

The body represents such an obvious, straightforward, physically tangible part of ourselves, yet is at once the holder of so many systems, symbols, emotions, opinions etc. It can be considered our most fundamental element, yet is also one of the most emotionally and politically charged themes within society and culture.
With great focus on the process and with my own body as well as the experiences and feelings that stem from it as subject and material, I work with textiles, sculpture, installation and drawing as my main mediums. By connecting the personal and the political in a contemporary context, I study questions regarding perceptions of bodies, bodily experiences and the relationship between the "body" and ourselves.


Textile is the primary material within my sculptures, but I also work with new materials such as Kombucha SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast).

This is a live, organic material which I cultivate from the mother culture (the SCOBY) in large trays containing tea, sugar and vinegar. I then harvest and dry the grown SCOBY to form a leather-like, biodegradable material. 

The environmental aspect is important to me, and I am therefore interested in working with biological, recycled, or otherwise environmentally-friendly materials.


I’m interested in slow processes. I like those repetitive, obsessive working processes that puts myself in an almost meditative state. I like how it allows me to spend time with the object, which leads to developing a relationship to it, no matter how ambivalent that relationship might be. These relationships often consist of comfort and protection, but also fear and antipathy.

In the project, 'If you were your own' (2019), I focused on the nature of anxiety, asking myself what form it might take if 'anxiety' itself would be a physical entity of its own. I used crochet as technique, which allowed me to slowly build up the sculpture, letting it reveal its shape one line at the time.

Copyright @ Irina Laaja 2020 All Rights Reserved