Ragnar Kjartansson. Me and My Mother
A multifaceted artist and performer, Ragnar Kjartansson (Reykjavík, Iceland 1976) employs a number of expressive means in his work: video, sculpture, music, drawing, and painting which all depart from some aspect of performance. His works are characterized by the simultaneous presence of contrasting feelings: sadness and joy, horror and beauty, drama and humor. Gifted with a remarkable ability to involve our emotions, Kjartansson creates complex and, at the same time, rudimentally staged settings, that aim to unite art and life, following in the wake of Romantic experience, seeking an artistic solution to the enigma of existence.
For the occasion of his solo show at EX3, curated by Lorenzo Giusti and Arabella Natalini, for the first time in Italy, the artist will present the third episode of the Me and My Mother series, recently completed and ready to flank the first two episodes in the same series. Begun in 2000 the work is part of a project in progress which calls for the realization, every five years, of a filmed performance. Each time the actors are the same (the artist and his mother) with the same disparaging and emphatic action. The mother spitting in her son’s face, repeated over time, not only inspires a chain of psychoanalytic-type thoughts, but also narrates – in a grotesque way – the substantial ambivalence behind all bonds of affection as well as their intensity and their destruction. Apparently desecrating, Kjartansson’s work is really an unconventional homage to the mother and, at the same time, a melancholic reflection on time and death.
Other video works will be presented in EX3’s side halls, including Death and the Children (2002) and Satan is real (2004) which, with similar desecrating themes, pick up the complex relationship with death. There are also two installations composed by a series of paintings: The Raging Pornographic Sea (2006) and The Blossoming Trees performance (2008) which reflect on the artist’s role, bringing out its theatricality and highlighting its ambiguous nature between nature and artifice.
Ragnar Kjartansson lives and works in Reykjavík (Iceland) where he was born in 1976. Apart from his many exhibitions in the United States and Europe, we recall here his recent participation in the Venice Biennale 2009 (Icelandic Pavilion), in the seventh edition of Manifesta (Rovereto, Trentino-Sud Tirolo, 2008) and in the second Turin Triennial (2008).
EX3 Centre for Contemporary Art, Florence01.07-19.09.2010
July 11, 2010