Layer upon layer of denim in different shades have become incrdible pieces of art. Until 1 May, you can experience Ian Berry’s denim magic in Material World at the Textile Museum of Sweden.

Born in Huddersfield, a town with a long-standing textile tradition, Ian Berry is a creative force and influence in the denim industry and has been named one of the top 30 artists under 30 in the world. With scissors, glue and second-hand jeans, Berry cuts and layers the fabric to make photo-realistic portraits and scenes.

As the first museum in Sweden to showcase Berry’s work on a large scale, the Textile Museum of Sweden presents Material World until 1 May. The exhibition includes, for instance, Hotel California, a series inspired by hotels and swimming pools in the western US state, where Berry cleverly catches the light and reflections on the water, as well as Giant Jacket and Lockdown Living Room, a recreation of his home during the pandemic.

“I’ve been portraying social and contemporary issues and what better material to use than what I think is the material of our time, denim,” says Berry. “But now, I have been looking more at what the material is and the stories behind it. The Textile Museum is the perfect location to show that.”

The Textile Museum: Beloved legends in denim

From cowboys to punk culture

In Denim Legends, Berry explores why we wear jeans, from workwear for cowboys to ‘50s movie stars, and later pop and punk culture. The celebration includes portraits of icons such as James Dean, Madonna and Bob Dylan – all playing a part in our love for denim. Denim Legends is an evolving installation where visitors are asked, ‘Who is your Denim Legend?’, and their opinions can shape the final piece.

Included are also two guest designers who have interpreted Berry’s work. Dutch designer Jonathan Christopher has created garments inspired by the most notable bodies of work and Swede Lill O Sjöberg complements the denim stories and rock history with a drum kit and guitar in Twood (textile wood), a new sustainable material made of discarded jeans.

Everybody has a relationship to denim, and the exhibition appeals to a big audience, including people who might not normally visit galleries. Comments by fascinated visitors include: “the best exhibition I’ve ever seen” and “seeing it in real life is so much better!”.

The Textile Museum: Beloved legends in denim

Photo: Debbie Bragg

Material World is showing at the Textile Museum of Sweden until 1 May 2022. The museum is located in the Textile Fashion Center on Skaraborgsvägen 3A in Borås.

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