‘One of the most celebrated performance artists anywhere’ New York Times
Bringing together live performance, music, film, painting, sculpture and drawing, this long overdue solo exhibition is the first in the UK to survey the work of the internationally acclaimed Icelandic artist, Ragnar Kjartansson.
Born into a family of acting professionals and having grown up backstage at the Reykjavik City Theatre, Kjartansson’s work combines his experience of stage traditions with experiments in repetition and endurance. Clichés and motifs of Western culture, romantic melancholy and even his own conception, provide the personal and often playful subject matter of the artist’s emotionally charged work. Having successfully represented Iceland at the 2009 Venice Biennale and participated in 2013 with standout works, Kjartansson is now at the cutting edge of contemporary performance art. The exhibition centres around the immersive and moving multi-channel video installation The Visitors (2012) and Take Me Here by the Dishwasher: Memorial for a Marriage (2011) a live performance full of romance and humour featuring ten troubadours singing for up to eight hours a day, every day for the duration.
Ragnar Kjartansson will present these spell-binding and multi-sensory experiences amongst a wide-ranging survey, perfectly-timed to shine a spotlight on one of the contemporary art world’s most exciting and evolving artists.
Visiting at the weekend? To coincide with the exhibition, a new work entitled Second Movement (2016), featuring two women in quintessential Edwardian costume rowing a boat and embracing in a never-ending kiss, will take place on the Barbican Lakeside every Saturday and Sunday, between 1–4pm, weather permitting.
The exhibition catalogue to accompany the exhibition is available to buy now.
Exhibition curated by the Barbican and organised in collaboration with the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C., where a version of the exhibition will be shown from 14 October 2016 to 8 January 2017.