Eija-Liisa Ahtila, The Hour of Prayer, 2005, four-channel video installation, 14 minutes 12 seconds. Installation view, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, 2007. Photo: Pablo Mason.


Eija-Liisa Ahtila

Jeu de Paume
1 place de la Concorde
January 22–March 30, 2008

Curated by Véronique Dabin

Emerging in the 1990s—the decade when moving image–based art reached a kind of worldwide zenith—Eija-Liisa Ahtila earned unique respect for her emotionally charged films, videos, and photographs. The FInnish artist's first retrospective in France will present four of her sculptures and some seventeen diptychs in addition to a selection of her “human dramas,” multiscreen films often set in claustrophobic interiors furnished with equally claustrophobic relationships. Using what she calls fragment-based storytelling, Ahtila exploits contemporary museumgoers' itinerant viewing patterns in her looped, disrupted narratives. Her dark tales of psychological breakdown (The House, 2002), schizophrenia (Anne, Aki & God, 1998), and mourning (The Hour of Prayer, 2005) play out in a kind of modern-day Northern Gothic. A catalogue with essays by Elisabeth Bronfen and Régis Durand, who initiated the show, will feature an interview with the artist.