Ragnar Kjartansson: screening & artist talk
Ragnar Kjartansson, whose practice is deeply influenced by the comedy and tragedy of classical theater and often employs endurance-based, repetitive performance, comes to Bucharest to share the stories behind his work.
Saturday, March 18
11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
ARCUB Hanul Gabroveni, Sala Mare
Bliss, 2020, single-channel video, 11:59:25 hours
Stay for 12 minutes or 12 hours, the choice is yours. We encourage you to wander in and out during the day to see how the durational performance chronicled in the video transforms throughout.
Saturday, March 18
ARCUB Hanul Gabroveni, Sala Mare, foyer
Ragnar Kjartansson in conversation with Börkur Arnarson (i8 Gallery) and Andrei Breahnă (Gaep)
Recognized as one of the most exciting and significant voices of contemporary art, Kjartansson masters multiple genres, mediums and roles, acting as a visual artist and a director, a musician and a showman. His artistic method revolves around theatricality and ritual and their common features: repetition and endurance.
The recent video Bliss (2020) chronicles Kjartansson’s durational performance of the same name, a staging of the final aria from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. Replicating the lavishness of traditional opera with a full orchestra, elaborate scenery and rococo costumes, the work presents a cast of singers – the artist included – performing the three-minute aria on repeat for 12 hours straight. Because of this extreme form of repetition, situations and emotions transform over time.
The audience will get a behind-the-scenes look at the production of the video during the artist talk, as Kjartansson will outline his trajectory from a childhood on the fringes of drama rehearsals and performances, to an international career in visual arts.
The event in Bucharest is part of the program Accelerator. Mentoring and Production for Emerging Artists and takes place in conjunction with the exhibition Back to Where It All Began.
Admission is free.
Ragnar Kjartansson (b. 1976) lives and works in Reykjavík. Major solo shows include exhibitions at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Reykjavík Art Museum; Barbican Centre, London; Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; and the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, among many others. Kjartansson participated in The Encyclopedic Palace at the Venice Biennale in 2013, at Manifesta 10 in St. Petersburg, 2014, and he represented Iceland at the 2009 Venice Biennale. The artist received the 2019 Ars Fennica Award, the 2015 Artes Mundi’s Derek Williams Trust Purchase Award, and Performa’s 2011 Malcolm McLaren Award.
IN THE PRESS
Ragnar Kjartansson’s Extravagant, Enthralling Bliss – Hyperallergic, 2021
“It’s hard to imagine how three minutes of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro repeated for 12 hours can be so riveting. (…) The video [Bliss] is flat-out gorgeous. (…) Ragnar Kjartansson has a striking ability to be at once ironic and sincere, gloriously antic and deeply serious. He also has a striking ability to illuminate core issues of what it is to be human: love, death, robust aspirations, failure, friendship, loneliness, hopefulness, and sorrow, among others. This ability is a major reason why his adventurous works often have such a pronounced impact on viewers, eliciting tears and laughter, contemplation and elation. His work can leave us not just entertained but deepened and changed.”
This project is financed with the support of EEA Grants 2014-2021 within the RO-CULTURE Programme and is implemented by Asociația Culturală Eastwards Prospectus in partnership with Gaep (Bucharest) and i8 Gallery (Reykjavík).
With the support of: ARCUB
Media partners: ArTeVezi, Curatorial, igloo, The Institute, IQads, RFI România, Radio România Internațional, Zeppelin