RAGNAR KJARTANSSON: THE END
Palazzo Michiel dal Brusà
Cannaregio 4391/A (Entrance on Strada Nova)
Ca’ d’Oro stop on vaporetto
June 7 – November 22, 2009
Vernissage: 4 – 6 June 2009
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.
In a separate room, a new video and sound installation consisting of several scenes shot in the Canadian Rocky Mountains will display Kjartansson and a collaborator playing an ambiguous country music arrangement on a variety of instruments. Recorded directly in the snow-covered mountains, the music will take on the sounds of nature that, along with the expansive sights and sounds in the video, will be in sharp contrast to the intimate and isolated performance in the adjoining room of the Palazzo. Taken together, the recorded performance in the Rocky Mountains and the live performance in Venice will create a dramatic juxtaposition between two iconic settings. Connecting the two portions of the exhibition, however, are themes of creativity, camaraderie, and Weltschmerz or world-weariness.