Eija-Liisa Ahtila is a contemporary visual artist and filmmaker. She lives and works in Helsinki, Finland. Ahtila is noted for her experimental approach to narrative storytelling. In her earlier work, she dealt with the unsettling human dramas at the centre of personal relationships, addressing family relations, mental disintegration and death. Her interests include the processes of perception and the attribution of meaning, at times in light of larger cultural and existential themes such as colonialism, faith and posthumanism.Read More
Since 2005, Ahtila has been working in eco-cinema, addressing how we should picture the world in light of global warming and other ecological crises. Ahtila posits an understanding of the environment that recognises these changes, and acknowledges the rights of other living beings on this planet as well as our responsibility to the environment. Consequently, her concerns have shifted towards rethinking the nature of drama if it were to move beyond the anthropocentric perspective, as in Horizontal (2011), for instance, which positions a tree as the protagonist.
For the 21st Biennale of Sydney, Ahtila's new installation, Potentiality for Love (2018), is presented at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Potentiality for Love deals with the potential for empathy and love towards other living beings. It turns attention to those human emotions that could serve as a foundation for dismantling the hierarchical structures between living things, thereby engendering a turn towards non-humans and the recognition of others.
Stephanie Berlangieri | Biennale of Sydney Exhibition Team | 2018