Ragnar Kjartansson engages multiple artistic mediums throughout his performative practice. The artist’s video installations, performances, drawings, and paintings incorporate the history of film, music, visual culture, and literature. His works are connected through their pathos and humor, with each deeply influenced by the comedy and tragedy of classical theater. Kjartansson's use of durational, repetitive performance to harness collective emotion is a hallmark of his practice and recurs throughout his work.
Kjartansson (b. 1976) lives and works in Reykjavík. The artist will soon have a mid-career retrospective at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Park, Washington DC, where it traveled from the Barbican Centre, London. Kjartansson has had major solo exhibitions at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, the New Museum, New York, the Migros Museum fur Gegenwartskunst in Zurich, the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, the Frankfurter Kunstverein, and the BAWAG Contemporary in Vienna. Song, his first American solo museum show, was organized by the Carnegie Museum of Art in 2011, and traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. Kjartansson participated in The Encyclopedic Palace at the Venice Biennale in 2013, Manifesta 10 in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2014, and he represented Iceland at the 2009 Venice Biennale. The artist is the recipient of the 2015 Artes Mundi’s Derek Williams Trust Purchase Award, and Performa’s 2011 Malcolm McLaren Award.
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