Parasol unit is delighted to present a major solo exhibition by the renowned Finnish film and video artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila. It will include three important video installations never before seen in the UK.
Ahtila's work concentrates on narratives in human life together with the relationships and primal emotions that underlie them. She describes her films as 'human dramas' because they play on the central themes of our existence, such as love, death, sexuality, the difficulty of communication, and individual identity ' both its formation and disintegration. Her fictional stories emerge from interviews and extensive research, her own observation and memory. As Ahtila's films are often shown on multiple screens or within complex installations, her stories unfold simultaneously within time and space, thereby creating a multi-layered experience that engages the viewer both physically and emotionally. Her masterfully crafted narratives, striking portrayal of characters and highly individual mode of expression have captured public interest and won much critical acclaim.
The exhibition will consist of three video installations; Where is Where?, The Hour of Prayer and Fishermen.
Where is Where? is a haunting and layered consideration of how history affects our perception of reality. It tells of a dramatic event that occurred during the Algerian War, when two young Algerian boys killed their French playmate. Fifty years on, a poet living in Finland seeks to understand that act. Space and time fall away in the experiences and existentialist writings of the poet, as do notions of morality, religion, guilt and forgiveness.
The Hour of Prayer is a short tale about attachment and death, based on the artist's own life. Via the events surrounding the demise of a dog, it tells the story of death entering a house and the process of dealing with grief. The material is shown in four simultaneous projections, the intention being to explore the possibilities of disrupting the traditional causal logic, structure and space for perception in screen narrative, while still being able to follow the events.
Filmed in West Africa, Fishermen, is the first work in a series of five one-channel video installations called Études.1 It recounts the tale of a group of men who repeatedly and frantically attempt to get out to sea in the face of strong winds and heavy seas.
In conjunction with the exhibition, Parasol unit with the support of FRAME (Finnish Fund for Art Exchange) will hold a one-off screening of Ahtila's film Where is Where? This UK premiere will be held at the Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Square, on Wednesday 14th April 2010 at 7pm.