Ingunn Birkelands signature vivid colors and thorough plaiting techniques are on display in her first gallery exhibition: Living Out In.
The strive for perfection
After launching her first shoe collection during Oslo Fashion Week in August last year, Ingunn Birkelands shoes have become very popular in only a short period of time. A continuation of her untraditional ways of exhibiting her designs, using living installations, can now be seen at Gallery Format.
The exhibition consists of both plaited pictures and a larger installation. The idea behind the latter is to address the constant strive for perfection in society today.
- We are all very concerned about what we look like, and how we dress and present ourselves sends out different signals. This manufactered wall we build around us is undermining human relations, Birkeland says.
Three girls, a model, a dancer and a choreograph, are a part of the installation.
- In the installation the girls look “normal”, but in the real world they would look very dressed up and over the top. I reflect a lot around this topic, working with aestethics myself, she says.
- There is an ongoing conflict between what’s really important and what’s not in life. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with having nice things, but i’ts crucial to not let them overshadow other, more essential aspects of life.
Expanding and evolving
Birkeland explains that she created this world mainly for her own pleasure, but she’s grateful if others can receive joy from it as well.
- Creating beautiful things is like therapy to me, it gives me strength and increases my inner peace, she says.
Birkeland has a certain scale of colours and a specific range of techniques that she uses, but with this exhibition she’s had the opportunity to expand and add more to it. For example are some of the fabrics leftovers from Fretex, while some of the furniture is refurbished finds from Finn.no.
- It was really exciting to have a whole gallery for myself, where I could play around as I pleased.
Both a designer and a craft maker
Birkelund says that she doesn’t want to be labelled or pigeonholed, and defines herself first and foremost as a fashion designer – who also does craft making.
- I feel like I’ve finally found the right place considering where my expression works and fit in, she says.
Words by Cecilie S. Olsen
Photos by Knut Bry
Live performance video directed by Klaus Kottmann.