Eija-Liisa Ahtila

Biography of Eija-Liisa Ahtila

A master at depicting and dramatizing the female crisis, Finnish-born video artist and photographer Eija-Liisa Ahtila specializes in complex multichannel installations that present the internal experience of a single person. Ahtila's strength lies in diverting conventional rules of storytelling and engaging in narrative in new and unforeseen ways, significantly expanding the cinematic form.


Not shying away from darker topics like mental illness and death, Eija-Liisa Ahtila's films take dramatic themes and render them in an unexpectedly emotionless way. Often extraordinary things take place in her works; in The Wind, 2006, a woman is sucked up against a wall by the strong wind from her window and in The House, 2002, the protagonist Elisa floats horizontally through a forest of trees. Elements of the improbable are inserted with a typical blasé self-evidence, showing Ahtila's supreme confidence in her own unique artistic language.


Born in 1959, Eija-Liisa Ahtila has exhibited internationally at renowned institutions, including the Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain, the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, and the Jeu de Paume, Paris. She has also participated in documenta XI, the 50th Venice Biennale, and the 5th Moscow Biennale. Ahtila was honored with a DAAD fellowship in Berlin in 1999, the Vincent Van Gogh Bi-annual Award for Contemporary Art in Europe in 2000, and the Artes Mundi Prize in 2009.

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