Eija-Liisa Ahtila




Photo series





Eija-Liisa Ahtila

Ilppo Pohjola



APRIL ≈ 61°01' 24°272024 | 8 min loop | 8–channel (vertically) projected installation with audio 8.0

APRIL is a multi-channel moving image installation that reflects upon the spatiality of an area of a forest by projecting it onto a rectangular wall, a human structure. The theme of the work is the spatiality of being and the constant change that is its fundamental quality. The source of the work is life in a forest where each singular being is an integrated element of the whole. The work was shot in a conservation area where the forest is allowed to exist without human intervention.


Potentiality for Love2018 | Moving image sculpture in three parts

POTENTIALITY FOR LOVE is a hybrid piece that combines sculpture with moving image. It deals with the potential for empathy and love towards other living beings. The work consists of three parts each approaching the theme from a different angle and medium.


Studies on the Ecology of Drama2014 | 25 min 40 sec | 4-channel projected installation

“How to depict living things? How to approach them? How to convey a different way of being, another being's world? How to make it into a continuous event that becomes part of our idea of reality?”  

STUDIES ON THE ECOLOGY OF DRAMA is a 25-minute projected moving image installation that uses the methods of presentation as a path to the company of other living beings. It expands upon the issues of ecological moving image narrative explored in two previous works (The Annunciation 2010, Horizontal 2011) – the focus in this work being on presentation, imaging and imagination in the context of the moving image.  


horizontal2011 | 6 min | 6-channel projected installation

HORIZONTAL is a six-channel moving image work of a living spruce tree. The idea of the work is to show the tree in its entirety, as far as possible retaining its natural size and shape. Because a life-size tree does not fit in a standard-sized human space, the tree is presented horizontally in the form of successive projected images. The work is a portrait of the tree. It is a record of its existence as a living organism, or perhaps more to the point, a presentation of the difficulty of perceiving and recording a spruce tree with the methods of visual documentation invented by humans.


the annunciation2010 | 28 min 25 sec | 3-channel projected installation

THE ANNUNCIATION is an installation of three projected images in which one of the central motifs of Christian iconography is constructed and re-enacted through the moving image. It is based on the narrative in the Gospel of Luke (1:26-38) and on paintings of the Annunciation in which artists have, in various periods, depicted their visions of the gospel’s events.

In this Annunciation the events are set in the present. The work consists of material produced during the preparations for shooting and an actual reconstruction of the event of the Annunciation. The footage was shot mainly during the frosty winter season of 2010 in the snowy Aulanko nature reserve in southern Finland and on a set depicting an artist’s studio and the scene of the Annunciation. All human actors except for two are non-professionals.


Where Is Where?2008 | 53 min 43 sec | 6-channel projected installation

“. . . How far can you enter into someone to understand them? To experience their country, their postures, the stigmata, to be startled by that. Which words will take you there, which words will show you what happens. The mountain, the plain, the sand, the water in me, which is the same.”

The theme of WHERE IS WHERE? is colonialism and the presence of two different cultures. It raises the question of how to portray a historical event, how it can be seen and understood within the framework of the present, and who has the right to interpret the event in the first place?


Fishermen / Études N°1 2007 | 5 min 34 sec | Single channel projected installation

FISHERMEN is a 5 minute 34 second long single channel projection. It shows fishermen in their boats heading out to sea. There is a strong wind and heavy waves. Despite numerous attempts the men fail. The waves capsize their boats and scatter their fishing equipment over the water – repeatedly. Filmed in West Africa.


The Hour of Prayer2005 | 14 min 12 sec | 4-channel projected installation

"On that day, death entered our house, and time abandoned us there alone.

I took my feet off the ground and curled them up under me, and tried just to be.”

THE HOUR OF PRAYER is a short tale about attachment and death based on the artist’s own life. Via the events surrounding the death of a dog, it tells the story of death entering a house and the process of dealing with grief. These events begin in New York during a winter storm in January and end in Benin, West Africa, eleven months later.


The Wind 2002 | 14 min | 3-channel projected installation

– shut the door please!
– it is shut.
– where’s the draft coming from, then?
– your imagination.

THE WIND is a story of a woman who cannot shout. Instead she bites her hands to the bones. From the open window a violent wind enters and together they start to work on things. The woman disarranges everything in her room, giving a new purpose and order to things, until she controls every detail in her empire of the reason.


The House2002 | 14 min | 3-channel projected installation

"I meet people. One at a time they step inside me and live inside me. Some of them only for a moment, some stay. They set up wherever they want to and take my facial expressions or my leg’s resting position and put their own in their place. They lie on my back and press their toes into my Achilles tendons. They appear in every pause and come out when I am in doubt and fill all the empty space. I shake and say to myself for a long time: good, really good.”

THE HOUSE is a story about a woman who starts to hear extra voices. They interfere with her perception of the world and gradually disrupt the time and space around her. She shuts out all the images by covering the windows of her house with black curtains so that she can be in the space where the sounds are.


The PreSENT 2001 | 5 x 1 min 12 sec to 2 min | 5-channel monitor installation with furniture

THE PRESENT consists of five independent short films exhibited as a five-channel monitor installation in museums and galleries, and five spots to be shown among advertisements on television.

The subject matter of “the Present” is the stories and personal worlds of women who have experienced psychosis. The material is based on interviews, but the episodes are fictional.


Consolation Service1999 | 23 min 40 sec | 2-channel projected installation

CONSOLATION SERVICE is a short film and an installation. It deals with the theme of endings, death and time from the point of view of a young woman.

The work is about a young couple's divorce process - the end of their story. It starts with some remarks by the narrator, which form a second level running through the narrative. The story is divided into three parts. It is early spring, and the landscape is still covered with snow.


Anne, Aki and God 1998 | 30 min | 5-monitor & 2-screen installation with furniture

ANNE, AKI AND GOD is an installation based on material borrowed from the film script "A Quest For A Woman", a work in progress. Three characters were chosen from the original material. Their roles have been adjusted and enhanced for the installation to create a work of its own. The installation examines the thoughts and context in the background of "A Quest For A Woman" and the process of film making in general. This is juxtaposed with Aki's situation when he, in a state of psychosis, creates a world of his own.


Today1996 | 10 min | 3-channel projected installation

TODAY is a short film and installation in three audiovisual episodes. The different episodes deal with the relationship between a father and daughter, and the formation and shifts of personal identity within a family.

One summer night, the grandfather dies in an accident. The event is seen from the viewpoint of each of the three different characters. The episodes are connected thematically, via the dialogue, the actors and the visual and aural elements used. Together, these three parts form the story of the family’s members at different periods.


If 6 Was 91995 | 10 min 46 sec | 3-channel projected installation

IF 6 WAS 9 is a video installation and short film about teenage girls and sexuality. It is based on research and real events, but the story itself and the dialogues are a fictional combination of various elements. 

The work features five girls aged 13-15 as the main protagonists. The episodes depict events in their daily lives and scenes from their hometown, Helsinki. The girls chat amongst themselves and speak directly to the camera, sharing their experiences and thoughts on sex. They play basketball, hang out with friends, reminisce about a ViewMaster version of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, and pass around porn-magazine clippings showing the best places in town to have sex outdoors. 


Me/We, Okay, Gray1993 | 3 x 90 sec | 3-channel monitor installation with furniture

ME/WE, OKAY, and GRAY consists of a short three-episode film and a 3-monitor installation. The installation is intended for showing in museums and galleries, and the episodes of the film version in cinemas among trailers and between the adverts on television.

The films are situated, both formally and narratively, in the terrain between short fiction and advertisements. They examine the differences and interactions between the two: the effects of the moving-image tradition and the language of film on advertising; and the use of narrative strategies and means of expression from adverts in drama.