‘On that day, death entered our house, and time abandoned us there alone. I took my feet off the ground and curled them up under me, and tried just to be.’
The Hour of Prayer is a four-channel filmic narrative that reflects on themes of attachment and death. Staged around events in the artist’s own life, the short tale begins with a series of events surrounding the death of a dog during a winter storm in New York and ends in Benin, West Africa, eleven months later.
Eija-Liisa Ahtila (born 1959 in Hämeenlinna, Finland) is a contemporary visual artist and filmmaker who lives and works in Helsinki. Ahtila, experiments with narrative storytelling in her films and cinematic installations. In her earlier works, she dealt with the topic of unsettling human dramas at the centre of personal relationships. Her later works, however, deal with more profound and basic artistic questions where she investigates the processes of perception and attribution of meaning, at times in the light of a larger cultural and existential thematic such as colonialism, faith and posthumanism.
Ahtila has participated in numerous international art exhibitions such as Manifesta (1998), the Venice Biennale (2005 and 1999), Documenta 11 (2002), São Paulo Art Biennial (2008) and the Bienniale of Sydney (2002 and 2018).
Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York and Paris