Icelandic Art Center
Icelandic Art Center
Ragnar Kjartansson

With texts by: Adam Budak, Caroline Corbetta, Cecilia Alemani, Florencia Malbran, Markús Thór Andrésson & Dorothée Kirch, Andjeas Ejiksson and Christian Schoen


Ragnar Kjartansson is a self-described incurable romantic, whose multifaceted artistic practice is rooted in a tradition of acting and performance. This publication gives an overview of Kjartansson’s artistic developement, highlighting his major performance pieces and video installations of the past decade.

But the main focus lies his complex project for the 53rd International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. The exhibition features a tableau vivant of the artist and a portrait model that will last for the entire six months of the Biennale, along with a monumental video and music installation. Also a part of the exhibition, and in anticipation of the Biennale, Kjartansson and his friend and fellow artist Andjeas Ejiksson began exchanging letters in early 2008 chronicling preparations for the Pavilion. The two artists approached this dialogue from a performance angle, slipping into the roles of two sentimental gentlemen of yore. The letter exchange has been reproduced in its entirety in the publication.


Ragnar Kjartansson (b. 1976, Reykjavík, Iceland) has worked extensively with the elements found in The End: durational performance, theater, painting, video, and music. He has been the subject of numerous solo and group exhibitions at galleries, museums, and biennials and triennials, including the 2nd Turin Triennial, Italy (2008); Manifesta 8, Rovereto, Italy (2008); the Reykjavik Arts Festival, Iceland (2008, 2005, 2004). Kjartansson graduated from the Icelandic Academy of the Arts in 2001, and he is the youngest artist ever to represent Iceland at the Venice Biennale.


Editor: Christian Schoen

June 2009, English Hatje Cantz (Germany)

120 pages, 88 illustrations

€ 35,–

ISBN 978-3-7757-2333-6