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Ragnar Kjartansson’s Experiential Art on Display

Kjartansson creates large-scale video installations, live endurance performances, drawings, photography and painting, with each work exploring family, society and contemporary culture with humor, irony and poignancy.

The first major survey of the work of Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson runs through Jan. 8, 2017, at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. Featuring the artist’s most celebrated works, including many never before seen in the U.S., Ragnar Kjartansson draws from theater, film, Icelandic storytelling, rock bands, opera music and pop culture.

Kjartansson creates large-scale video installations, live endurance performances, drawings, photography and painting, with each work exploring family, society and contemporary culture with humor, irony and poignancy.

Photo by Elisabet Davids.

Highlights include Kjartansson’s most well-known work to date, “The Visitors” (2012), a series of nine life-size video tableaux of a musical performance staged at the historic Rokeby Farm in upstate New York. Shot in one take, each musician was recorded in a separate room of the home or on the grounds of the farm, singing the same refrain, “Once again I fall into my feminine ways,” for just over an hour. When experienced together, the screens merge into a cinematic and harmonious composition.

Says Kjartansson of the exhibit, “I’m thrilled to be in the canon of the Hirshhorn. I feel a bit like a thief in the temple. To collaborate with those brilliant people is a kick.”

For more information and a full list of programs, visit hirshhorn.si.edu/collection/ragnar-kjartansson.

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