Performance with the Wiener Sängerknaben
Opening performance with the Wiener Sängerknaben March 7, at 19.00
Text by Ásdís Sif Gunnarsdóttir
Arrangement by Kjartan Sveinsson and Davíð Þór Jónsson
Performed by the Haydn Choir, choir leader: Kerem Sezen
Repetition, circularity and the experimentation with musical canons are the artistic signature of Ragnar Kjartansson. The elegiac and mysterious quality of the human voice in the process of tiring, exhaustion and erosion, in a state of solipsism or polyphony, consonance or cacophony, modulate his durational performance pieces to the dialogue between the performer’s inner voice and his capacity for declamation to an audience. The hypnotic magnetism of the video installation The Visitors exploits the Delphic and personal lyrics of Ásdís Sif Gunnarsdóttir’s poem My Femine Ways, tuned to a nihilistic gospel song performed by some of Iceland’s grandest musicians.
Stars Exploding is a newly commissioned performative “sister” work and musically takes its departure from the repetitive mantra of just one line of the poem. It will be premiered at Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary by singers from the Wiener Sängerknaben, in a one time only performance for the exhibition opening. This is the first collaboration between the two institutions.
The Wiener Sängerknaben, a legendary Viennese institution whose foundation was laid at the court of Maximilan I. in 1498, are the institutional neighbors of TBA21 at the Augarten. The 9-channel installation of The Visitors is transformed into a choral performed by the Boys’ Choir, a very different artists’ community to Kjartansson’s group of friends in the videos, but nevertheless also defined and united by music. Their „heavenly“ voices anticipate the romantic melancholy conjured by The Visitors, the choir acts as a youthful incarnation of Kjartansson’s bohemian persona singing of love lost, gender troubles and a nihilistic hope in hopelessness.
The performance is commissioned by TBA21, in cooperation with the Wiener Sängerknaben
Haydn Choir. Choir leader: Kerem Sezen
Image: Ragnar Kjartansson, Wiener Sängerknaben, 2013
Watercolour and ink