First solo show in France of the Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson opens at Palais de Tokyo

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Friday, February 23, 2024


First solo show in France of the Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson opens at Palais de Tokyo
Ragnar Kjartansson, Bonjour, 2015. Coproduction Palais de Tokyo ; Festival d’Automne à Paris. Exhibition view « Seul Celui qui Connaît le Désir », Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine (New York); I8 Gallery (Reykjavik). Photo : Aurélien Mole.



PARIS.- Palais de Tokyo is presenting the first solo show in France of the Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson (born in 1976, lives and works in Reykjavik). In a poetic and surprising manner, the exhibition portrays everyday desires, longing for the transcendent, blurring the boundary between mundane and sublime.

New works specially conceived for the exhibition will be shown, including Bonjour (2015), a spectacular performance that takes place on a full-scale set of a picturesque village square in France and that shows a brief, fleeting encounter of a man and a woman. Scenes from Western Culture (2015), another new work on show, comprises a set of idyllic Watteau inspired cinematic paintings : a speed boat scene on a Swiss lake, a couple making love in cozy minimal interiors, an afternoon swim, the burning of a forest cabin, upper class children playing in a Munich garden, etc. This large video installation celebrates and laments Western desires.

Seul celui qui connait le désir (2015) are large scale free standing paintings of icy mountains and rocks, in the tradition of theatre set painting. Wood pretends to be a rock, in obvious deception. These massive objects are full of longing; for beauty, transcendence, something else, and, thus, illustrate the tension between the mundane and the sublime.

Ragnar Kjartansson’s singular work is a cross between performance and cinema, sculpture and opera, plein air painting and music. He often produces large-scale multidisciplinary projects and the production of his works often requires the collaboration of several participants – actors, musicians, friends and family members. “Experimenting the mechanisms of theatre and the dramatic impulses of tragedy, Ragnar Kjartansson succeeds in bringing emotions out of melodramatic actions and in revealing the reality on which relies every actor’s or singer’s interpretation”. — Julien Fronsacq

The exhibition project conceived by Ragnar Kjartansson for Palais de Tokyo follows a meaningful series of experiences inspired by World Light (1937-1940), the Nobel laureate Halldór Laxness’ well-known four volume epic novel. Considered as the masterpiece of this leading figure of 20th century Icelandic literature, as well as some sort of bible for a lot of artists in the country, the book tells the tragic and eminently romantic story of a cursed poet.

Elaborated in both Berlin and Reykjavik, hand-in-hand with the composer Kjartan Sveinsson, founding member of the Sigur Rós band, Ragnar Kjartansson created a lyrical adaptation of the book. Titled The Explosive Sonics of Divinity (2014), the work breaks with the conventions of the operatic genre, replacing the actors by setting elements. Painted by the artist himself, the set reproduces romantic clichéd landscapes.

Also on view in Palais de Tokyo is World Light (2015), a video work based on a performance titled The Palace of the Summerland (2014), where Ragnar Kjartansson & friends transformed the Thyssen Bornemisza Art Contemporary exhibition space (Vienna, Austria) into a film set. Over a fourweek period, the novel World Light by Halldór Laxness was filmed there. In collaboration with twenty-some artist friends and family members, Ragnar Kjartansson produced a constantly evolving show that revealed the entire production of the film, from rehearsals to costume design and filming. The video is several hours long and thus reflects the length of the book as well as the ambition of its protagonist, an impoverished poet who tirelessly searches for a way to follow his non-negotiable passion for beauty and poetry, which leads to poverty, incest, suicide, and to occasional blooming flowers of beauty.

“Repetition is an important factor in (…) changing the linear [time] into situational. I think that as an artist I can bring certain elements into theater or borrow theatrical elements for my work, but my point of reference will always be outside of it.” 3 — Ragnar Kjartansson

Bonjour will repeat daily and during the entire length of the exhibition at Palais de Tokyo, the charm of the fleeting encounter between a man and a woman. The artist fancifully explores the art of staging a story – from the dullest anecdote to the epic – renewing not only the performance, but the visitor’s experience also.
“While the concept of duration was central to the performance art of the 1970s, for Kjartansson, it is only a formal tool; he has little interest in exploring the body’s physical limits. For content, he instead often turns to what many consider performance art’s antithesis: theater.” 3

In Scenes from Western Culture , an ensemble of short films that depicts desirable moments of everyday life, “the difference between the subjects contributes to the tragicomic aspect of a Western culture, reduced here to a few anecdotal scenes.” (Julien Fronsacq)

Lastly, some of the works presented at the Palais de Tokyo, such as Raging Pornographic Sea (2012) and Me and My Mother ( 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015), combine questionings about infinite loops with the theme of filiation. This theme is essential to the artist’s process, where fiction and reality seem to blur together more than ever.


(2), (3) Ragnar Kjartansson, interview by Markús Thór Andrésson “Ragnar Kjartansson - A Simple Act of Forgiveness”, Flash Art, Nr. 281, November-December 2011, pp. 78-81.

(3) Markús Thór Andrésson, “The Lure of Repetition”, Parkett, Nr. 94, 2014.










Today's News

October 28, 2015

Exhibition looks back on the death, autopsy and funeral of France's King Louis XIV

"Audubon to Warhol: The Art of American Still Life" opens at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Plague infected humans much earlier than previously thought: Natural History Museum of Denmark

Retrospective of Dutch artist Karel Appel's works on paper opens at Centre Pompidou

The Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt presents its new website with a pioneering concept

Parisian Biblia latina vulgata: Rare pocket-size Bible at auction in Germany

Phillips to offer selected masterworks by Le Corbusier from the Heidi Weber Museum Collection

On art and its margins: The frame in the centre - an exhibition at the Dordrechts Museum

"A Beautiful Confluence: Anni and Josef Albers and the Latin American World" opens at MUDEC

Morgan Library's Peggy Fogelman named next Director of Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Planes, trains & ocean liners: Travel in every style to Swann Galleries' November Poster Auction

First solo show in France of the Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson opens at Palais de Tokyo

Exhibition of nine new paintings and two sculptures by Beatriz Milhazes on view at James Cohan

Moyun Niu joins Heritage Auctions as Consignment Director, Asian Art

Sotheby's to offer inscribed first editions of some of the world's best-loved books

Small-format exhibition of images by Aleydis Rispa evoking outer space on view at Fundació Joan Miró

Exhibition on St Trinian's creator shows the breadth of one of the great satirists of the modern age

Cleveland Museum of Art announces recent acquisitions

Premier selection of galleries to participate in Art Basel's 2016 edition in Hong Kong

Rare 18th century Irish officer's silver gorget to be offered at Bonhams

Betty Cuningham Gallery opens exhibition of new paintings and drawings by John Lees

Photographer curates exhibition and charity auction at the Museum of Liverpool

Play Land: Exhibition of new works by Jane Benson on view at Pavel Zoubok Gallery

Historic truck goes on display at Canberra Airport




Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful