Rave Review of Icelandic Exhibition in London Skip to content

Rave Review of Icelandic Exhibition in London

In yesterday’s review of a survey exhibition of Icelandic aritist Ragnar Kjartansson’s work at the Barbican Centre in London, the Guardian calls Ragnar “one of the most brilliant artists at work today.” The exhibition opened on Thursday, last week.

Ragnar is famous, among other things, for his work at the Venice biennale, where a white-sailed boat, carried a crew of musicians who performed an exquisite lament from dawn to dusk.

He uses a variety of media for his work as a film-maker, musician, sculptor and performance artist.

The article, written by Laura Cumming, describes a film clip, in which Ragnar’s parents appear to the music of a former member of the band Sigur Rós:

“It is a perfect start to this retrospective, representing so many aspects of Kjartansson’s work: his use of repetition and duration as a way to alter the meaning of words; his lament for lost love (his parents were later divorced) and unashamed address to the heart; above all, his peculiar fusion of humour and sorrow.”

Cumming continues:

“The whole show is a gorgeously relaxed immersion in Kjartansson’s humorous, whole-hearted and generous way of thinking. His parents and friends reappear, cinematic landscapes are reprised as delicate watercolours, the minstrel’s music resurges between rooms. Images and sounds combine in roundelay, and nowhere is this more so than in the show’s absolute high point, the nine-screen installation called The Visitors.”

“For the broken-hearted, Ragnar Kjartansson offers consolation; for lovers he conjures a mirror of their blessed state. The Visitors is a marvellous creation, rhapsodic, mesmerising and overwhelmingly affecting. It runs for more than an hour but you could stay there for ever. I could not pull myself away.”

Ragnar was chosen this year’s Reykjavík City Artist in June.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Get news from Iceland, photos, and in-depth stories delivered to your inbox every week!

* indicates required

Subscribe to Iceland Review

In-depth stories and high-quality photography showcasing life in Iceland!

Share article