Art at Times: TAKES US FAR AWAY / Case study: RAGNAR KJARTANSSON
The audiovisual medium allows Ragnar Kjartansson to combine different means of communication (music, theatre, cinema and painting) and to trap time as if in a sculpture.
Ragnar’s filmed performances and video-installations explore how something becomes something else.
Ragnar does this by working according to two main methods.
Obsessive repetition and long duration: the performances and their fruition become an exasperating proof of resistance during which attention, emotion and meaning slide along without ever stopping.
Multiplication, collaboration and variations on the theme: poetical video-installations with multiple screens bring the viewer to the center of the scene, leading him or her to become a witness of the magical moment in which art begins.
The End - Rocky Mountains is both things.
Ragnar and his musician friend David Thor Jonsson set out on a “musical climb” of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
It is a challenge in “making art”: an instrument of interior survival, which is subjective, but in this case it’s also objective and physical.
In five locations high up in the mountains, in extreme conditions, the duo plays the various parts of a composition, using different instruments every time, repeating them three times in three variations.
The video-installation reunites the five performances in an impossible concert in which something new and unexpected is generated: a musical track that is complete and organic, which is played by ten elements.
The musical adventure of going through the mountains in this way becomes the documentation of a creative act and a metaphor of life – a journey that achieves sense through the sum of the stop-overs, the rehearsals and the meetings.
Art at Times... Takes Us Far Away (L'arte a volte ci porta lontano, Ita. 2016, dur. 16' ca.)
Credits: video by Studio Lulalabò | dir./script/edit., Luca Aimeri | supervis., Edu. Dept. FSSR | cam., Valerio Rigaldo | graphic-d., Laura Calvini | mediator, Leonie Heys Cerchio | prod., Fond. Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Fond. CRT.
Main artwork: The End - Rocky Mountains (2009), by Ragnar Kjartansson
Other cited Kjartansson's works: Satan is Real (2007) | Guilt Trip (2007) | God (2007) | The Schumann Machine (2008) | The Blooming Trees Performance, Rokeby Farm (2008) | The End - Venice (2009) | The Night - Eroticism, Folköl and Melancholia (2010) | Me and My Mother (2010) | Du holde Kunst (2012) | The Visitors (2012) | A Lot of Sorrow (2013) | The Palace of the Summerland (2014) | Scenes From Western Culture, Burning House (2015)
Bel-Air Glamour Records (Ragnar's label): www.bel-air-glamour-records.com
Artist's page @ i8 Gallery: www.i8.is/artist/ragnar-kjartansson
Artist's page @ Luhring Augustine Gallery: www.luhringaugustine.com/artists/ragnar-kjartansson
Artist's page @ Artsy:
Artist's page Vimeo: www.vimeo.com/user21440416
Art Talk series (video) @ Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami: www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2nXUq99IW0