From the start of her career in the 1990s, Eija-Liisa Ahtila has been considered one of the leading proponents of video art. She makes films that she describes as human dramas in which the characters are seen grappling with their emotions, their entourage and an unstable environment. Denis Savary, an up and coming Swiss artist, has conceived an intervention for the second instalment of Satellite, the new programme dedicated to contemporary art. His works are made with great economy of means and require concentration from the viewer.
From the start of her career in the 1990s, Eija-Liisa Ahtila has been considered one of the leading proponents of “video art”. She makes films that she describes as “human dramas” in which the characters are seen grappling with their emotions, their entourage and an unstable environment.
Ahtila's working methods bring video close to cinema, notably by using its vocabulary and shooting techniques. She explores different registers (fiction, advertising, documentary) while playing on perceptual phenomena so as to interrogate the capacity of narrative to reproduce reality. Going beyond the clichés associated with the Nordic lands — Nordic light, Nordic melancholy and madness, for example — Ahtila explores the dominant concepts of normality and divergence, sensitively addressing the “truth” of the feelings she depicts.
Jeu de Paume-Concorde is giving this Finnish artist her first retrospective in France. It covers pretty much the full extent of her work, from the early 1990s to the present, and features most of her films, including a new one produced in collaboration with the Jeu de Paume, but also her series of photographs. For this event all the spaces of the Jeu de Paume-Concorde will be given over to her work.
Denis Savary "meilleurs vœux / d'après"
"Satellite. Terrains de jeux 2/4"
Denis Savary, an up and coming Swiss artist, will be conceiving an intervention for the second instalment of “Satellite”, the new programme dedicated to contemporary art.
Denis Savary's works are made with great economy of means and require concentration from the viewer. His videos, which are shot in real time, using still, wide shots, may seem to show nothing but banal, familiar scenes, or at best to represent a form of pure documentary, and yet Savary is nevertheless guiding our gaze to what he has chosen to record. What is needed is an almost contemplative attitude if we are to appreciate the aesthetics and poetry hidden in his images. It is the same with his drawings, which are meticulous and simple, formed by a few sketched lines in pencil, all on the same standard A4 paper.
For the Jeu de Paume, Denis Savary has had the idea of extending a theme developed in his exhibition at the Jenisch Museum in Switzerland (12 October 2007-20 January 2008). Rather than presenting works in the time-honoured way, Savary examined the history of the host institution to find anecdotes that he could refer to in order to fill the space with poetic interventions evoking the collections and their past.
At the Jeu de Paume - Concorde, Savary has chosen to invoke Kokoschka's famous doll, which he first resuscitated at the Jenisch Museum. This time, the doll will be transformed into a kind of scarecrow-doll that “attracts” to itself works from the museum in Vevey. Savary will also show videos. His concern to set up an interaction between the works he conceives and the space where he exhibits fits perfectly into the spirit of the “Satellite” programme, which aims to question the status of the image, of the artist and of the exhibition form itself, by seeing them through the prism of the newest art.
Image: Eija-Liisa Ahtila
Opening january 21, 2008
Jeu de Paume
Place de la Concorde - Paris