Eija-Liisa Ahtila (°1959, Finland) is a contemporary visual artist and filmmaker. She has long been considered a master of the cinematic installation form. Her work is conceptually organized around the construction of image, language, narrative, and space, and she has often probed individual identity and the boundaries of the subject in relation to the external world.
Using the visual language of cinema, Ahtila presents large-scale installations with multiple channel projections on multiple screen constructions. These viewing conditions, with their simultaneously charged vantage points, break the tradition of cinematic perspective and construct an experience of several co-existing times and spaces for being.
Eija-Liisa Ahtila experiments with narrative storytelling in her cinematic installations and films. In her earlier works, she has dealt with the unsettling human dramas at the centre of personal relationships – teenage sexuality, family relations, mental disintegration and death. Her later works deal with profound and basic artistic questions where she investigates the processes of perception and attribution of meaning, at times in the light of larger cultural and existential thematics like colonialism, faith and posthumanism.
The artist encourages us to explore how the anthropocentric medium of film might enable us to narrate the very life of the planet as well as our own. The starting point for many of her recent works and research has for instance been the eco-cinematic question: how and with what kind of technology, drama and expressive devices can we build the image of our world in this present moment of ecological crisis?
This exhibition offers a survey of Ahtila’s practice through seven film installations made between 2001 and 2018 and a series of drawings. Each of the works has been redesigned for its specific presentation at M.
The production of Potentiality for Love, Athila's most recent work, was made possible in part with M Museum’s support.
Curator: Eva Wittocx
With the support of the Finnish embassy in Belgium
Eija-Liisa Ahtila has studied at the University of California, Los Angeles; the American Film Institute, Los Angeles; the London College of Printing and the University of Helsinki. Her works have been exhibited widely in solo shows, for example at: Tate Modern, London (2002); The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2006); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2012); Jeu de Paume, Paris (2008); Neu National Gallery, Berlin (2000). Eija-Liisa Ahtila has also participated in numerous international art exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale (2005 and 1999); Documenta 11 (2002) and the Sydney Biennial (2018 and 2002). Her films and retrospectives have been screened in many major festivals including Berlin, Sundance, Venice and Rotterdam, among others. In Belgium her works have been exhibited at Contour(2009) en at S.M.A.K. (2010). This exhibition in M is her first solo exhibition in Belgium.