Eija-Liisa Ahtila - Love is a treasure (2002)


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 other. 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.

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