The Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson has been a part Momentum’s early history, participating in the 2004 and 2006 editions.

During 2006, Momentum presented a performative and site-specific work by Ragnar Kjartansson that contained, among other elements, the phrase “Scandinavian Pain” which was presented as a large neon sign and placed on the top of a barn located outside of Gallery F 15. While the ownership of the barn has changed hands, the words simultaneously continue to remain as a memory and present a contemporary notion of Nordicness.

Interestingly, Moderna Museet in Stockholm purchased the work and due to its fragility, it was decided that it couldn’t be shown outside an exhibition space. For Momentum10, the memories of this phrase come to us again in the form of a printed image, bringing the work back as a trace of what it previously was.

Keren Cytter_Kjartansson

Photo: Vegard KIeven © Punkt Ø | Photo above: Terje Holm © The artist, Luhring Augustine, New York and i8 Gallery, Reykjavik

Ragnar Kjartansson draws on the entire arc of art in his performative practice. The history of film, music, theatre, visual culture and literature find their way into his video installations, durational performances, drawing and painting. Pretending and staging become key tools in the artist’s attempt to convey sincere emotion and offer a genuine experience to the audience.

Kjartansson’s work has been exhibited widely. Recent solo exhibitions include the Barbican Art Gallery in London, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC, the Palais de Tokyo in Paris and the New Museum in New York. Kjartansson was born in 1976 in Reykjavík and studied at the Iceland Academy of the Arts and The Royal Academy, Stockholm.