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 and post-humanism.
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.
“A 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.
This exhibition 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.