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Ars Fennica Prize awarded to Ragnar Kjartansson
With his presentation of The Boat, one of nine videos from the Scenes from Western Culture series (2015), Kjartansson addresses core subjects of his versatile artistic practice, which centres around topics and interrelations in music and theatre.

REYKJAV═K.- i8 Gallery congratulates Ragnar Kjartansson on winning this years Ars Fennica Prize.

The prize is awarded by the Henna and Pertti Niemist÷ Art Foundation. The Director of the Museum Tinguely in Basel, Roland Wetzel, selected the prize winner.

Wetzel refers to Kjartansson’s artistic practice as well as the topics he explores trough art: New forms of reconfiguring established modes of representation, humour and irony in questioning conventions, and the relevance of sound and music as ‘auratic’ aspects in creating specific space-time and collaborative experiences.

“With his presentation of The Boat, one of nine videos from the Scenes from Western Culture series (2015), Kjartansson addresses core subjects of his versatile artistic practice, which centres around topics and interrelations in music and theatre. The idyllic Swiss mountain scenery of The Boat provides the freeze-frame backdrop for an ever-repeating scene of a couple in love arriving at a landing stage. The heteronormative conventionalism and moral uprightness of the plot are emphasized through a seemingly endless loop in slight, chance-driven variations played off to the point of absurdity.

Kjartansson’s attitude to operating as a minimalistic Trickster is at the core of his manifold practice. The way he exposes himself or other actors as fragile personalities challenging failure, and his ambiguous inclination towards nostalgia and romanticism reflect his authentic and empathic oscillation between ‘playing’ and ‘being’. With his pivotal performances and films about music (making), he emphasizes collaborative work and friendship with a twist towards melancholia and meditation, creating this fascinating and irresolvable tension between the sublime and the mundane.”

The ARS FENNICA is Finland’s biggest visual art prize. The Foundation was set up in 1990 to promote visual art, to open up new international avenues for Finnish visual art, and to inspire artists in their creative work. The candidates for the award were chosen by an Award Panel appointed by the Foundation, chaired by Leena Niemist÷, MD, with members Museum Director, Kiasma Leevi Haapala, Museum Director, Amos Rex Kai Kartio, and the artist Jussi Kivi.

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