Eija-Liisa Ahtila – Jeu de Paume

I was really happy to get a chance to catch the end of Finnish artist Elija-Liisa Ahtila’s exhibition at the Jeu de Paume last week. The show was refreshingly ambitious and engaging with excellent use of sound and visuals particularly in The House, a three screen installation which examined the link between what we hear and what we see.

I loved the combination of magic and whimsy in the videos and also the use of Finnish language. Sometimes it seems as though in the world of the international art fair English is the only language of contemporary art. This is especially true in Scandinavian works exemplified by the recent Norwegian contemporary art exhibition Lights On which was populated almost entirely by English language rather than Norwegian language art. I once was told, and I don’t know how true this is, that Norwegian will die out in 300 years due to the dominance of English. If a work is strong then it will communicate to international audience across the language barrier. We need to use languages or we will lose them.

The Jeu de Paume has an interesting video podcast showing some installation videos of the exhibition which is worth watching and a few interesting screen shots of the work. This shot is taken from Where is Where? a newly commissioned piece which although did not quite justify its hour long run time was definitely worth watching.

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