Ragnar Kjartansson The Guilt Trip

20 May 2010 22 August 2010

Project room, Färgfabriken

Curator Jonatan Habib Engqvist

We see the protagonist wander aimlessly trough the wilderness carrying a rifle and a plastic bag filled with cartridges. There is no other props: no wig, no make-up and – no comic relief. Every now and then he fires off his weapon at random. The piece is in its ways a tribute to Laddi: a comedian who has been present during the full lives of a generation, a generation the artist himself is a part of. Laddi has invented many characters, in films, on theatres, television, radio and music albums. The whole nation has probably roared with laughter when Laddi has taken on one of his many roles. Paradoxically, it seems like nobody really knows him. Behind all identities, extreme personas and all personality layers “Laddi” is a withdrawn man, so infamous for his shyness that media has given up trying to get an interview with him a long time ago. For the public he is a tabula rasa – one day he opens a bar, the next he sells holiday accommodations in Spain.

The exhibition is a part of the project Nordens U-land? Isländsk konst i kristid (the Nordic developing country? Icelandic art in a period of crisis) and will be finished with a seminar in august/September, produced by Färgfabriken in collaboration with the Goethe Institute. The seminar centres around the global economy crisis with a focus on Iceland. The project will then be continued in Östersund where Andrí Snaer Magnasons film ”Drömlandet – vad har du kvar när du sålt allt du äger?” (the Dreamland– what is left when you have sold all that you own?) Will be shown before the group exhibition ”Nordens U-land? – Isländsk konst i kristid” is opened with a performance by Icelandic Love Corporation. In the final phase of the project, a publication consisting of documentations, transcribed conversations and commissioned texts will be produced.

About the artist

Ragnar Kjartansson (born 1976 in Reykjavik) has a broad artistic repertiore. He is not only working with video, painting, and performance in his art, but is also a musician. Between 1997 and 2001 he trained as a painter at Iceland Academy of the Arts, and the year 2000 he studied at the Royal University College of Fine Arts in Stockholm. Ragnar Kjartansson is one of our age’s most interesting young artists and has already taken part in a great many exhibitions internationally. Between the more recent ones, the Venice Biennale 2009 (the Islandic pavillion), the second Turin Triennale 2008 and Manifesta 8, 2008, stands out amongst the others.