A SCULPTURAL DANCE
WITH DIANA ORVING
During the pandemic, hungry for cultural activities and visual sensations, we invited celebrated fashion designer and textile artist Diana Orving to stage a sculptural installation in an empty museum exclusively for us. It was a day of quiet magic, watching her large scale textile art pieces slowly come to life as a beautiful but temporary installation where movement and choreography played a central role. The temporary nature of the installation - only up for a day while we captured it on film and camera - also added to the poetic experience.
“I have never felt at ease in the fashion industry,” Orving says when speaking about her recent decision to only focus on her art. “The world of fashion follows a set of values that have never been mine. More stockists, higher turnovers, better margins and quicker production speak very little of fashion’s real meaning. For me, the industry’s fixation on measurability is spiritually draining.” This spring she has been busy staging a small but very beautiful sold out exhibition at Stockholm high end furniture shop Nordiska Galleriet and preparing for the summer exhibition that just opened at Varberg Konsthall. Running until August 29, it’s called Närmanden, and features a number of textile sculptures and large scale installations reminiscent of a dance choreography where one movement is followed by a new one.
“It has been over ten years since I started my experimental work creating sculptures and art installations using textiles, but it was something I had considered ever since starting a career in fashion. I view pattern construction as a form of mobile or fluid architecture – volumes in constant change, creating a space for the body. The sculptural works are – to an even greater extent than garments – ever-fluctuating volumes.”
Micha van Dinther
TNE What is it about textiles that fascinates you the most?
DO I am quite obsessed with the tactile and sensual qualities of fabric – I love how the material is alive and variable, and how it offers such a great richness and nuance. How it can be heavy and compact like boiled wool, or vulnerable and delicate like silk chiffon. Roaming through my material archives, I can find my way to the desired fabric with my eyes closed.
TNE What is a typical day in your studio like?
DW My atelier is housed in an old building in the Södermalm neighbourhood of Stockholm. I am a morning person and I tend to get there before 8am. I start off my day by writing and sketching – it is a mixture of personal journalling and work. I use pen and paper because I’m not that fond of my computer and only use it when it is absolutely necessary. In my space, I have attached strips of fabric from the ceiling onto which I pin the sculptures I am currently working on. Since I often work on several pieces at the same time, I alternate between using the sewing machine, mounting fabrics and adding another layer to the textile painting sitting on the easel. Until last year, I worked on both my textile art and fashion collections simultaneously, but as of this year I’ve decided to take a break from fashion design for an indefinite period of time.
”It has been over ten years since I started my experimental work creating sculptures and art installations using textiles, but it was something I had considered ever since starting a career in fashion. I view pattern construction as a form of mobile or fluid architecture – volumes in constant change, creating a space for the body. The sculptural works are – to an even greater extent than garments – ever-fluctuating volumes.”