The Paolo Curti & Co. Gallery opens the
2000/2001 program with the show of the Finnish
videoartist and photographer Eija-Liisa Ahtila.
Born in Hameenlinna, Finland in 1959, Ahtila
attended the Helsinki University between 1980 and
1985 and then the London College of Printing,
School of Management, Film and Video Department
in London in 1990-91. In 1994-95 she specialized
at the American Film Institute, Advanced
Technology Program in Los Angeles.
At the beginning, the conceptual content of
Ahtila's art was motivated by art philosophy, by
a critique of art institutions and by feminism.
The focus of her investigations was the
construction of the image, language, narrative
and space. After 1990 she went even more deeply
into themes surrounding individual identity and
the limit of the self and body in relation to the
According to Eija-Liisa Ahtila, what interest her
in films and photos is above all the story. She
calls her films human dramas.
They deal, as do many of her other works, with
human relationships, sexuality, the difficulty of
communication, individual identity, its formation
and disintegration. The stories Ahtila tells
through her films and photos are based on
research, on real and fictive events, on the
experiences and memories of the artist herself,
of those she knows, or of complete strangers.
In one of her last video Consolation service (awarded
at the Venice Biennial in 1999) Ahtila
also deconstructs the formation of the narrative
and cinematic illusion: as though in a straight
documentary film (cinema verite'), both
narrator and camera are shown openly. The
illusion of fiction is thus shattered, made
visible. The use of a hand-held shaking camera
reminds the group Dogma 95 led by Lars Von
The show at Paolo Curti & Co. includes a
group of photographs which were exhibited at
Ahtila's last show at the Neue Galerie in Berlin,
Ahtila was also awarded the
Coutts prize and the Daad in Berlin. She had solo
shows at Museum Fridericianum in Kassel and
Kunsthaus in Glarus in 1998 and at the Neue
Galerie in Berlin in 2000.
more on Ahtila's works