Wednesday, June 10

Ragnar Kjartansson - "The End" at La Biennale di Venezia

Reykjavík, Iceland, March 13, 2009: The official Icelandic representation at the 53rd International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia will feature Ragnar Kjartansson, a self-described incurable romantic, whose multifaceted artistic practice is rooted in a tradition of acting and performance with an existential and absurdist sensibility that can be linked to artists ranging from Caspar David Friedrich to Gilbert and George. Kjartansson’s exhibition for Venice, entitled The End, will feature a tableau vivant of the artist and his model - Haukur Bjornsson, also a painter, - that will last for the entire six-months of the Biennale, along with a monumental video and music installation. It will be presented in the Palazzo Michiel dal Brusà, a 14th-century palazzo on the Grand Canal near the Rialto, which has served as the Icelandic Pavilion since 2007. Transforming the Pavilion into a makeshift studio for the Biennale, Kjartansson will relentlessly paint the portrait of a young man posing day after day against the backdrop of the Grand Canal. The young man modeling for him will be smoking cigarettes and drinking beer, while clothed only in a bathing suit. For six months, Kjartansson will limit his art production to the painting of this scene. He will produce one work after the other, with the paintings made on previous days left to accumulate in piles around the studio. Though not an idealized version of the artist and his model – such a proposal being disrupted by the incongruous appearance of the Speedo, the cigarettes, and the beer in an otherwise romantic setting – the performance is partially based on questions of the artist’s self, suggesting his perpetual re-conceptualization in relation to his surroundings and previously existing works of art. “I imagine the Venice Pavilion being a lighthouse at the end of the world, watching the verge of nothingness. Waves chasing the lost souls and the mist blurring the horizon, protecting you from the vertigo of the abyss. It is a nameless sea and sitting on the dock is a man without fate.” Ragnar Kjartansson I will write another post about this piece and Ragnar Kjartansson. It is only an introduction that is at the Biennalle site. Painting for six months the same model and producing a painting a day. There is something here. Notice that the video is dated November, 11, 2009 the day settled to the end.


Sandee said...

Wow, what an undertaking this is. I would think it would become quite boring fairly quickly. Will be fun to follow though.

Have a terrific day. :)

Ana said...

It looks like a marathon.

Anonymous said...

I was there yesterday. Great lost studio atmosphere at the end of the world, one guy sitting almost naked in a sofa and plays guitar, while the artist is painting. Hundreds finished paintings of one motive only and thousand empty beer bottles around ... Glorious sunny day on Venice's Canal Grande is squeezing in through windows of beautiful old palace and spreads on studio floor. Quiet Biennale visitors are messing around in wonder. What a moment!
Veljko from Croatia

Ana said...

Thank you very much Veljko.
I guess I will have to publish your comment.