Institute of Contemporary Art Boston opens Ragnar Kjartansson. Song

. December 17, 2012

Institute of Contemporary Art Boston presents Ragnar Kjartansson. Song the first U.S. solo museum exhibition of Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson. The exhibition is on view from Dec. 12, 2012 through April 7, 2013.

Ragnar Kjartansson

A musician as well as an artist, Kjartansson makes performance and video works that sample a wide range of culture, from the sagas of his native Iceland to American blues music. Often inspired by misheard lyrics, Kjartansson’s song-filled videos investigate the porous boundaries between reality and fiction, as well as the inherent artifice of performance.

The exhibition includes a selection of video works from the last decade as well as a live, multi-hour performance of Schubert’s An die Musik on Dec. 13, from 5 – 9 pm (tickets are free). Coordinated for the ICA by Curatorial Associate Anna Stothart, Ragnar Kjartansson: Song is organized by the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.

A brilliant and nimble performer, Kjartansson uses music to focus on the persona of the performer, whom he often sets against extreme conditions. In The End the artist and friends play rock-and-roll in the heart of the wintry Canadian Rockies; in Satan is Real he croons while bare-chested and buried waist deep in a hole. Kjartansson also presents other performers, such as the iconic American blues musician Pinetop Perkins and even his own mother. The artist’s lush videos—characterized by incongruous settings, repetition and endurance, and humorous or nostalgic soundtracks—elicit contradictory feelings of pleasure and anxiety, humor and sincerity, sentimentality and skepticism. –

Category: Museum News

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