The work of Ragnar Kjartansson (born 1976 in Reykjavik, Iceland) is originally grounded in theatre, performance and painting. But, as he moves freely between art forms, he makes music sculptural, painting performative, and turns film into tableaux vivants.
The work of Ragnar Kjartansson (born 1976 in Reykjavik, Iceland) is originally grounded in theatre, performance and painting. But, as he moves freely between art forms, he makes music sculptural, painting performative, and turns film into tableaux vivants. His elaborate practice includes video installations based on repetitive structures, extended live performances and vast series of plein-air paintings. At the core of all this lies a scrutiny of the emotional layers, social dimensions, and contradictory elements that make up our everyday lives.
Kjartansson‘s practice reflects art in all its multiplicity of forms. His work is an ode to art as such, but also an exposé. While we are creating and enjoying music, theatre, film, literature and visual art, we are both raising our spirits and examining our human condition. Kjartansson transports and transposes this precarious science from one artform to another, variously citing their histories, as well as his own biography.
He provides clues to the mechanisms of art by displaying both its façade and its hidden side. He challenges the possibilities and limits of artistic creation, the result being a pairing of the wonderful and the ridiculous. And the two clash relentlessly; reality versus art, doubt versus hope. They obstruct one another, mirror each other, or ultimately merge into one.
Ragnar Kjartansson’s work reveals the degree to which we continually construct our own reality – while his playful approach reminds us of the pleasure that we can allow ourselves in that process.