Laivi, Being Estonian: Hope and Grief. 2018. VI Artishok Biennial, Tallinn, curated by Sten Ojavee. Photo: Dénes Farkas.

Laivi (1988) is an artist working with various forms of fashion. Her work is characterised by a material-centred and experimental approach to textiles and clothing. Laivi analyses modes of dressing on a broader scale, on a visual-aesthetical and functional level as well as from the perspective of expression.

Laivi’s earlier work explored the aspect of emotional intimacy between garments and people. One of her first exhibitions “Poor girl/ too cool” (2016) focused on the relationship between the quality of garments and the wearer’s satisfaction, highlighting the mechanisms of creating added value. Her show “Infinite mind caged in practical possibilities” asked the question of how to decrease the distance between textile and the garment it is made into. Working on a Jacquard loom Laivi was looking for ways to weave the garment into the textile. Her explorations also connect to the search for the mythical seamless shirt and the possible conceptual meanings of contemporary clothing.

The starting point for Laivi’s series of performative fashion installations is creating the immaterial aspect of fashion, the atmosphere, using the material means of fashion – clothing and materials – to do that. She continues to work with the theme of crystallising fleeting time in clothing and combining temporary and permanent materials in order to create results with questionable durability and value. During the one-night event “Long Live Trashed Bodies” (2018) the artist exhibited garments and accessories as static objects in a completely dark space, where members of the audience had to use flashlights to find them. The beams of light slashing the darkness complemented the cultivated trash bag aesthetic – unexpectedly, something unpleasant could be revealed. The display also featured canvases with integrated items of clothing pressed crinkled on the surface by the fabric technician.

Laivi studied fashion design at the Estonian Academy of Arts (BA, 2012) and Aalto University in Helsinki (MA; 2017). She has also worked in London, Copenhagen and Barcelona. Since 2014 she has participated in numerous contemporary art exhibitions and has had several solo shows.

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Selected projects

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