SKMU Sørlandets Kunstmuseum presents Where Is Where?, a multi-screen installation by Finish artist and filmmaker Eija-Liisa Ahtila (b. 1959). Ahtila’s masterfully crafted narratives and touching portrayal of characters have captured the public’s interest and won critical acclaim worldwide. Her films and multi-screen installations explore and experiment with storytelling, creating extraordinary tales out of ordinary human experiences.
In her earlier works Ahtila has dealt with the unsettling human dramas at the centre of personal relationships e.g. with teenage sexuality, family relations, mental disintegration and death. Her later works however deal with more profound and basic artistic questions where she investigates the processes of perception and attribution of meaning, at times in the light of larger cultural and existential themes like colonialism or faith.
Where Is Where? (2008) takes us on a challenging journey. The starting point is an incident from the French-Algerian war in the 1950s, when French soldiers dragged 40 Algerian male villagers out of their beds and executed them. Where Is Where? Connects this to another incident, when two Algerian boys murdered a French playmate as a response to the massacre. To these storylines others are added, where times and places mix and overlap. Where Is Where? is an existential drama that relates just as much to past colonial conflicts as to contemporary encounters between different world views.
Where Is Where? by Eija-Liisa Ahtila is the first exhibition in SKMU:s special look on art from Finland in 2011. Later this year we will have solo exhibitions with the artists Marko Vuokola, Pilvi Takala and Sanna Kannisto.
Where Is Where? is supported by FRAME Finnish Fund for Art.
Photo Credits: Where Is Where?, 2008, 53 min. 43 sec., 4-channel projected high definition installation with 8-channel sound. Copyright: Crystal Eye Ltd., Helsinki. Courtesy of Marian Goodman Gallery, New York and Paris