Eija-Liisa Ahtila: Tender Trap and Secret Garden

29 April–8 June 2008

Index presents early works by Eija-Liisa Ahtila in a solo show at tranzitdisplay, Prague. Tender Trap (1991) and Secret Garden (1994) are works which precedes the film medium while working with similar formal solutions and a related narrative structure. If 6 was 9 (1995), shown at Index 1995, is the first example of Ahtilas pioneering activity in the art film.

Tender Trap (1991) is an installation where five slide projections together creates a filmic narrative. An accompanying wall text in the form of a dialogue between a man and a woman, raises questions about the relationships between art, document and real life and the artist’s moral right and possibility to use her or his memories and experiences in artistic works.

In the poster work Secret Garden (1994) Eija-Liisa Ahtila apply the commercial VHS aesthetics of the time. Questions about how the viewers interest are raised by the commercial language of advertising are at the core of this work, which plays with the audience’s expectations by promoting a film existing only in the mind of the viewer.

The narrative in If 6 was 9 (1995) evolves around a group of young girls, their way into adulthood and sexuality. The three part video installation, which could be described as the artists’ breakthrough, was first shown at Index 1995. By employing a multi layered narrative, where at one time all three images melts into one, at other times slit up in three, Eija-Liisa Ahtila in this work creates an image of a fragmented reality consistent with the subject, the confusion of teenage time and the difficulties accompanying the striving for an self defined identity and sexuality.

The time line in Tender Trap as well as in If 6 was 9 advances in several directions, forming parallel stories, an artistic strategy which could be seen as significant for the pioneering film works of Eija-Liisa Ahtila. The topic discussed in Tender Trap, the sometimes hard negotiated border between life and art, could also be said to be central in the artist’s oeuvre. While Tender Trap addresses the subject more directly, If 6 was 9 raises the question mainly by its documentary influenced language, a method similar to the one the artist uses in Secret Garden.

The opening is followed by a screening of Finnish experimental film in Kino Svetozor, at 8:30 pm.

Thanks to Frame and Pro-A

For more information about tranzitdisplay see: www.tranzitdisplay.cz Exhibition venue: tranzitdisplay, Dittrichova 9/337, 120 00 Prague 2 CZ