Eija-Liisa Ahtila is one of the most internationally recognized Nordic
contemporary artists. Since her breakthrough in the 1990s, she has been a
trailblazer in the development of cinematic installations. Eija-Liisa
Ahtila's works operate in the borderlands—questioning and exploring
the conventions of the cinematic idiom and challenging habitual
perspectives. Her position in the world of film became clear to a wider
audience when she was on the jury for feature films at the Venice Film
Festival in 2011.
"The cinematic device has this trust built
around it, yet it can't read all kinds of worlds and show them to us. I try
to show that the worlds of, for example, nature and specifically human
cinematic expression don't meet. Even if they do exist in this world
together, they are parallel," says Eija-Liisa Ahtila, commenting on her
work Horizontal (2011).
Eija-Liisa Ahtila is an
idiosyncratic narrator in moving images, who probes questions on what it
entails to be a human being and a subject. Her filmic installations
challenge habitual perspectives and expose new perceptive worlds. She
touches on and brings to life the current ongoing discussion on biopolitics
Ahtila's working process often begins
with writing. Research on a subject is interwoven with fiction and
references from art history and literature, in multifaceted narratives. A
fascination for film as a technique and medium permeates Ahtila's oeuvre.
She twists and turns its very cornerstones, playing with the traditional
cinematic narrative. Her works occasionally allude to a given, familiar
style, culled from the commercial or documentary, undermining the viewer's
routine interpretation. In her large spatial works with multi-channel
projections, the feeling of co-existing worlds is enhanced.
recurring element in her works is the sense of uncertainty—about
distances in time and space, faltering mental states or indefinite
identities. Ahtila seeks ta make the viewer aware of how our experience of
the surrounding world is bath determined and delimited by our sensual
perceptions." says L. Essling, curator.
puts the emphasis on Ahtila's recent output, with a few earlier works to
provide reference points. Alongside sculptures and drawings, the
installations Where is Where (2008), The Annunciation (2010)
and the recent Horizontal (2011) are particularly noteworthy.
Eija-Liisa Ahtila lives and works in Helsinki. Her works have previously
been shown at the MoMA, New York, Jeu de Paume, Paris, Tate Modern, London,
and Kunsthalle, Zürich. She has participated in numerous international
exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale in both 1999 and 2005.
Eija-Liisa Ahtila, The Annunciation,
2010. 3-channel projected installation. 32:10 minutes. Courtesy Marian
Goodman Gallery, New York & Paris. Photo Antti Ruusuvuori. © 2011
Crystal Eye Ltd, Helsinki / ADAGP Paris 2012.