The First Sigh

Ekström Saara

The 8mm film shows a bunch of lilies slowly rising and falling as if following the rhythm of quiet breathing. The flowers are placed in a vase filled with black liquid, which gradually gets sucked up by the plants. As the white flowers absorb the dark colour the bunch seems to exhale, bruising and collapsing. Then the process reverses, and as the lilies inhale, they become pure again, untouched. In the foreground of the flower arrangement runs a text in which 4 to 7-year-old children tell stories of significant events in their lives. Just like the darkening and lightening cycle of flowers, also the stories of the children revolve from shadow to light.


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The First Sigh
Finnish Title
The First Sigh
English Title
The First Sigh
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Saara Ekström (Author)
Press Photos
Saara Ekström works in film, photography, text and installation. Chronotopes where time and place densify, time that nurtures and erodes, the ambivalent desire to both remember and forget are at the core of her art. Ekström’s work has been shown extensively in various museums and festivals in Europe, the Americas and Asia. She received the State Prize for Visual Arts in 2023, the Finnish media art prize AVEK Award in 2018 and the prizes of SW Finland in 2017, Finnish Art Society in 1995 and the Aboa prize in 1994. She has been the Helsinki Festival Artist in 2005 and was nominated for both Ars Fennica and Carnegie Art Award prizes in 2010.