Kjartansson/The National: A Lot of Sorrow



“I don’t want to get over you.” Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson got the American indie rock band The National to perform their song ‘Sorrow’ repeatedly in a six hour live loop at MoMA PS1, New York. Louisiana Channel was there to document the performance.

“Sorrow found me when I was young, sorrow waited, sorrow won” begins the song by The National, whose music conjure notions of romantic suffering and contemporary Weltschmerz — themes artist Ragnar Kjartansson often uses in his own work employing references as wide-ranging as Edvard Munch and ABBA. As always Kjartansson is on a quest to find the comic in the tragic and vice versa, while full of genuine emotion. By stretching a single pop song into a day-long tour de force Kjartansson continues his explorations into the potential of repetitive performance to produce sculptural presence within sound.

The National is an American indie rock band formed in 1999 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently based in Brooklyn, New York. The band’s lyrics are written and sung by Matt Berninger. The rest of the band is composed of two pairs of brothers: twins Aaron (guitar and keyboard) and Bryce Dessner (guitar) and Scott (bass) and Bryan Devendorf (drums). The band has released six studio albums, the last one Trouble Will Find Me came out in May 2013.

Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson (b.1976) draws on the entire arc of art in his performative practice. The history of film, music, theatre, visual culture and literature finds its way into his video installations, durational performances, drawings and paintings.

Recorded at MoMA PS1, May 2013

Photography by Per Henriksen

Editing by Per Henriksen

Produced by Christian Lund

Music by The National

Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

Supported by Nordea-fonden.

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