Video: Contemporary Art: Who Cares? Sara Supply, assistant to Eija-Liisa Ahtila (2010)

Posted on Wed, 02/24/2010 - 13:26
Plenary lecture
Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s Installation Artworks and Conservation Aspects
Sara Supply, assistant to Eija-Liisa Ahtila
The film installations Ahtila produces deal with individual identity, with human relationships, sexuality, and the difficulty of communication. The “human dramas” in her films are based on research, on real and fictive events, on the experiences and memories of herself and others. The installations & films are produced in long term cooperation with a professional production company with the aim for a high quality original material which can then be transferred & worked into a presentable format without losing much of the image quality. The presentation format has changed during the years VHS/S-VHS/DVD/HD-file in order to present the work in the best possible quality available. Co-working with a Helsinki AV company the artist carries through the requirements for each installation in the various exhibitions; guidance and supervision when put on display guaranteed by specific loan agreements to achieve f.i. the same image quality on multi-screen installations. When an installation is sold to a collection (private/public/museum) they receive a package including all essential material connected to the work as a Digibeta (or the equivalent original format) master, two sets of exhibition DVDs (new sets can be made from the master when required), preview material and also information on the artist (CV, bibliography, press, catalogues). The actual conservation issues with Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s works are questions with the changes of the original technical devices and the preservation of the original & raw material (S-16 mm film, Betacam SP, DigiBeta, SR, HD etc.). Does the nature of the work change as the presentation formats are adapted to the match the present technical equipment, and what entails the production company plans for digitizing original/raw material in order to ensure their preservation.
Eija-Liisa Ahtila was born in Hameenlinna, Finland in 1959. She is a video artist and photographer, and lives and works in Helsinki. Ahtila attended the Helsinki University and the Art School Helsinki between 1980 and 1985, and the London College of Printing, School of Management, Film and Video Department in 1990-91. In 1994-95 she specialized at the American Film Institute, Advanced Technology Program in Los Angeles. With her work she has won several prizes: In 2006 she won the Artes Mundi Prize in Cardiff, in 2002 the Great Prize Fiction in Portugal; in 2000 the Coutts Prize Zurich and the Vincent Award in Maastricht. Her work was awarded in 2000 in Bergen as best film (Nordisk Panorama), in 1999 at the Venice Biennale, and with the Daad Grant in Berlin the same year. Ahtila has had solo’s in the main modern art museums in Europe and North America, and contributed in group exhibitions all over the world. Her work is shown at art galleries, art film festivals and art biennials as Manifesta, Venice Biennale, Dokumenta Kassel, Istanbul Biennial. Her work is held in many museum collections in Europe and North America. Ahtila lives and works in Helsinki and cooperates with a professional production company when creating her works. She is currently professor at the department of Time and Space-based Art at the Finnish Academy of Fine Art.