The House (Talo)


Eija-Liisa Ahtila ( Finnish, 1959 )

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General Description

Eija-Liisa Ahtila keenly brings to light difficult, often disturbing aspects of contemporary life, empathetically communicating their effect on everyday people through today's evolving technologies of film and video. The House is based on extensive interviews Ahtila conducted with women who had experienced psychosis. Using a combination of film and installation, the artist has created an encompassing and finite sensory space, relaying for the viewer the sensations of isolation, estrangement, wonder, and delusion her subjects experienced.

Three screens depict, in varying time sequences, a solitary woman narrating and moving through her domestic routine and environment. However, as the film progresses into domestic surrealism, boundaries between the principle subject's perspective and objective reality begin to shift and blur. A cow ambles off of the TV screen and into the room, the foghorn of a ship sounds in the dense forest, a tiny version of her car drives across the wall as she wonders aloud if her car will remain where she parked it. All the while, the calm, monotone voice of the principle subject and the honesty of her story act as anchors, alleviating the anxiety of the work and suggesting a way out of madness through a resigned incorporation of the fantastic and delusional into everyday life.

Excerpt from

Anna Katherine Brodbeck, ed., TWO X TWO X TWENTY: Two Decades Supporting Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art), 2018.

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