Eija-Liisa Ahtila




Photo series





Eija-Liisa Ahtila

Ilppo Pohjola


selected publications

Francesca Woodman & Eija-Liisa AhtilaUnipress Graz | 2017

Francesca Woodman & Eija-Liisa Ahtila: On Visuality and the Presentation of Emotions in the Space of Media Art
Pbk, 240 x 170 mm | 84 pgs | German
Published by Unipress Graz, 2017

The phenomenological encounter with the works of the American photographer Francesca Woodman and the Finnish video artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila forms the focus of the publication. Photography and video art are explored as media spaces, and emotion as phenomenon receives special attention. By analyzing the work of the two artists, it is shown how emotions become embodied and are made visible in the space of media art. The question of the image plays an important role as does that of the relationship between the perceiving subject and the space that surrounds her. The author explores the relationship between the body and space in the context of perception and emotion, making use of the philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, theories of embodiment as well as recent research in emotion studies.

ECOLOGIAS DEL DRAMAMAC Museo de Arte Contemporaneo | 2017

Eija-Liisa Ahtila: Ecologias del Drama
Essays by Mieke Bal and
Hanna Johansson 
240 x 170 mm | 223 pgs | 74 photographs
Published by MAC – Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, 2017
Supported by FRAME FINLAND

“On the occasion of Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s major retrospective in Spain, MAC Museo de Arte Contemporáneo of A Coruña has published together with DARDO, the first Spanish language catalogue by Eija-Liisa Ahtila, presenting a cross section of her work.

The catalogue spans over 200 pages of museum views of installed works, photographic works, film stills and screen captures. The catalogue features a previously unpublished text by art historian Hanna Johansson The Temporal and Ecological Sphere of Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s Film and The Moving Image as Witness by author Mieke Bal. Studies on the Ecology of Drama, Horizontal, Anthropomorphic Exercises on Film, The Annunciation, The House, Today and Dog Bites have been photographed at MAC and these never seen photographs are included, together with views from other shows by the artist.” MAC

ecologies of dramaCollected Writings, Interviews, and Scripts | Albright-Knox Art Gallery | 2015

Eija-Liisa Ahtila: Ecologies of Drama
Collected Writings, Interviews, and Scripts
Edited by Cathleen Chaffee
Preface by Janne Sirén
Introduction by Cathleen Chaffee
Synopses and scripts by Eija-Liisa Ahtila
Interviews by Chrissie Iles, Lena Essling, Stephen Knudsen, Cary Wolfe
Essays by Alison Butler, Daniel Birnbaum, Kaja Silverman, Mieke Bal, Elisabeth Bronfen, Cary Wolfe
Pbk, 170 x 243 mm | 300 pgs | 41 photographs
Published by Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 2015

“This first anthology of the literature on Eija-Liisa Ahtila includes scripts of all 14 of the artist’s moving-image installations; reprints of essays by Mieke Bal, Daniel Birnbaum, Elisabeth Bronfen, Alison Butler, Kaja Silverman and Cary Wolfe; and interviews with the artist.” AB


Hbk, 243 x 225 mm | 191 pgs | 134 photographs
Published by the Finnish Literature Society & Serlachius Museums, 2014

"Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s art amazes and intrigues. The meticulously crafted realistic worlds of her video installations explode into fantastical episodes, their narrative split between several projection screens. Their thought-provoking stories take the reader on a journey into the depths of the human mind.

A central theme in Ahtila’s work is the relationship between humanity, animals and the natural world. This book explores Ahtila’s video works through a close reading of the nature relationships embedded in them. It also serves as a general introduction to Eija-Liisa Ahtila and her art.” (Back-cover)

Thinking in filmMIEKE BAL | Bloomsbury Academic | 2013

Thinking in Film – The Politics of Video Art Installation According to Eija-Liisa Ahtila
Pbk, 140 x 216 mm | 328 pgs | 54 photographs
Published by Bloomsbury Academic, 2013

“What is a moving image, and how does it move us? In Thinking In Film, celebrated theorist Mieke Bal engages in an exploration – part dialogue, part voyage – with the video installations of Finnish artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila to understand movement as artistic practice and as affect.“ (Back-cover)

parallel worldsModerna Museet & Steidl | 2012

Eija-Liisa Ahtila: Parallel Worlds
Foreword by Daniel Birnbaum, Ann-Sofi Noring, Pirkko Siitari.
Introduction by Daniel Birnbaum
Insterview by Lena Essling
Essays by Cary Wolfe, Leevi Haapala, Alison Butler
Clth, 215,9 x 292,1 mm | 199 pgs | 160 photographs | illustrated throughout
Published by Steidl & Moderna Museet, 2012

“Eija-Liisa Ahtila is the most accomplished and recognized contemporary Nordic artists working today, and Parallel Worlds presents her most recent bodies of work. Ahtila has been an indefatigable pioneer of multi-media art since her video and performance breakthrough in the 1990s, and her influential position in cinema was cemented in 2011 when she was appointed to the feature films jury of the Venice Film Festival. Parallel Worlds shows Ahtila's ongoing concern with the experience of being human, her complex narratives incorporating art historical and literary references, her adaption of commercial and documentary filmic styles, as well as her current interest in bio-politics and post-humanism.” Stedl

“Moderna Museet presents an exhibition and a catalogue featuring completely new works by Eija-Liisa Ahtila, the most internationally recognised Nordic contemporary artists. Ahtila has been a constant pioneer in the development of multi-media art ever since her video and performance breakthrough in the 1990s. Eija-Liisa Ahtila lives and works in Helsinki. Her works have previously been shown at the MoMA, New York, Jeu de Paume, Paris, Tate Modern, London, and Kunsthalle Zürich. She has participated in numerous international exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale in 1999 and 2005.” MM

Lenticular Layers

the annunciationCrystal Eye | 2011

Eija-Liisa Ahtila: The Annunciation
Edited by Ilppo Pohjola
Introduction & script by Eija-Liisa Ahtila
Essay by Mieke Bal
Flexi, 216 x 274 mm | 136 pgs | 100 photographs
Published by Crystal Eye, 2011

“Finnish visual artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila tells the stories of ordinary human beings undergoing what seem to be bouts of insanity or supernatural occurrence. This volume records her three-channel installation and film The Annunciation, reproducing its script and 100 stills from the work.” AB

where is where?Parasol Unit & Koenig Books | 2010

Eija-Liisa Ahtila: Where is Where?    
Edited by Ziba Ardalan de Weck
Script by Eija-Liisa Ahtila. 
Essays by Regis Durand, Alison Butler, Nancy Princenthal
Hbk, 195 x 300 mm | 128 pgs | 126 photographs
Published by Parasol Unit / Koenig Books, London 2010

“Inspired by true stories, the films of Eija-Liisa Ahtila depict people whose worlds appear to fall apart completely. Where is Where? tells the story of a Finnish author researching a terrible crime from the Algerian War, who is paid a visit by Death, incarnated in the tradition familiar from The Seventh Seal. This volume records the film in beautiful stills with captioned dialogue.” AB

Is death always a private death?
When you die where are you?
And where is where?
Walking slowly across the room,
through the wall,
from the terrace to the nearest trees,
yet, this is no longer happening
in your country
but on this desolate plain,
Where the sky is high.
Above the human.

EIJa-liisa ahtilaJeu de Paume, Hazan & Hatje Cantz | 2008

Eija-Liisa Ahtila
Eija-Liisa Ahtila – Une Retrospective (French)
Die Fragilität des Alltäglichen – Eija-Liisa Ahtilas Arbeit mit dem (German)
Introduction by Elisabeth Bronfen
Interview by Doris Krystof
Essays by Régis Durand and Doris Krystof
Pbk, 235 x 260 mm | 192 pgs | 154 photographs 
Published by Jeu de Paume, Hazan & Hatje Cantz, 2008

“In her most recent work, published here for the first time (alongside other select projects), the important Finnish video artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila challenges traditional explanations for Northern European melancholy--instead questioning the concept of "normality" and examining existential, abstract themes such as co-existence and exclusion, childhood and violence, life and death.

Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s first monograph published in France, this catalogue presents the different aspects of Ahtila’s work, with particular emphasis on her recent and unpublished work, including the film Where is Where? produced on the occasion of the exhibition at Jeu de Paume.” AB

Eija-Liisa AhtilaGL Strand | 2007

Eija-Liisa Ahtila
Preface by Helle Behrndt
Interview by Anne Kielgast
Essay by Beatrix Ruf
Pbk, 235 x 250 mm | 64 pgs | 35 photographs
Published by GL Strand, 2017

“Eija-Liisa Ahtila has manifested her role as one of most important video artists of her generation at the international scene, and we are very pleased to make this great solo-exhibition and catalogue with this great Finnish artist for the first time in Denmark. Through the diversity of modern media she explores the topics of love, sexuality, wrath, identity, loneliness, separation, vulnerability and death. Her tense, but precise stories tells us of human relations and circumstances – some ordinary, others extreme, but all deeply relevant.” (Preface)

THE CINEMATIC WORKS OF EIJA-LIISA AHTILADeLuxe DVD+Book | Crystal Eye & British Film Institute | 2003


"In Eija-Liisa Ahtila's films and videos, ordinary suffering inhabits the bodies of her female subjects and takes over, spilling into such neurotic activities as crawling on a freeway overpass, lying face up in a puddle of mud, acting like a dog or blocking up all the windows and doors of a house so as to keep out distractions. This volume on the cinematic works of Ahtila aims not only to introduce the spectator to her narrative-driven psychological films but also to consider the working process of an artist and filmmaker. Published here for the first time is a complete set of Ahtila's original film manuscripts plus a two-hour DVD with all of her film work to the present, presenting an all-too-rare opportunity to view the work of a time-based artist outside the exhibition space. Included are Me/We, Okay, Gray, If 6 was 9, Today, Consolation Service and Love is a Treasure.” Amazon

"Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s films and cinematic installations explore and experiment with narrative storytelling, creating extraordinary tales out of ordinary human experiences. Her masterfully crafted narratives, touching portrayals of character, and highly individual mode of expression have captured the public’s interest and won critical acclaim worldwide.” BFI

DVD: 2 hours; 16:9/1:1,33-1:1,85; b/w + color; Dolby Surround / Dolby Digital 5.1; PAL; No regional coding
BOOK: 256 pages; custom box;
135 x 185 mm

fantasized persons and taped conversationsCrystal Eye, Kiasma & Tate Modern | 2003

Fantasized Persons and Taped Conversations
Edited by Maria Hirvi
Introduction by Tuula Karjalainen, Nicholas Serota
Synopses by Eija-Liisa Ahtila
Essays by Taru Elfving, Kaja Silverman, Kari Yli-Annala, Daniel Birnbaum
Hbk, 245 x 274 mm | 248 pgs | 210 photograps
Published by Crystal Eye, Kiasma & Tate Modern, 2003

“A father tells the story of himself and his life through the members of his family, who are hanging laundry, and who mouth the words that he speaks for them. Five girls aged 13 to 15 share their experiences and thoughts on sex while playing basketball, hanging out with friends, and passing around porn magazine clippings. A man in a state of psychosis creates a woman for himself, Anne, who appears in seven different versions. A woman crawls over a bridge; curtains sway; a teenage girl lies down in a muddy puddle in front of her home; anger takes the form of wind in a woman's apartment; a woman starts to hear voices in her house, so she darkens the rooms and shuts out all images. This is the world of "Fantasized Persons and Taped Conversations" that acclaimed Finnish artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila reveals to the viewer. Through experimental narrative storytelling techniques that explore the possibilities of narration in multiscreen installations and split screens, and the connection between short films and commercials, Ahtila tells what she calls psychodramas, seeing the light in flawed relationships, failing families, the things that drive people apart and drive them insane.”  (Back-cover)



"Eija-Liisa Ahtila has been working in diverse areas of audiovisual expression since the late eighties. In her works she explores experimental narrative storytelling techniques, e.g. connections between short films and commercials, split screen techniques and the narrative possibilities of multiscreen installations.

This DVD contains both one and two-screen versions of Consolation Service. In the installation the story unfolds with two adjacent images projected on the wall. For the film version the material was re-edited to form a more classical one-screen narrative. The aim of the project was to study the differences in narration in these two formats.

Consolation Service tells the story of a divorce process from the point of view of a young woman. Its themes are ending, death and surrender. It is told through a combination of documentary realism and cinematic fantasy. The everyday is present in the events, set design and costumes, combined with an imaginary level that expresses the inner world of the characters. This imaginary level is constructed using more poetic elements in the dialogue and non-realistic scenes, e.g. invisible people in a therapy session, people falling through ice and drowning in beautiful underwater scenes." (Back-cover)

DVD: 2 x 24 min; 4:3/1:1,85; Dolby Stereo / Dolby Surround; PAL; No regional coding; 12-page booklet