“There’s something so sad about Scandinavia. It’s this ideal part of the world, but it’s just so black. It’s so fucking sad. It’s Sad-anavia you know. That’s why I’m a big fan of it.” Meet the vibrant Icelandic artist and melancolic jester – Ragnar Kjartansson.
In his paintings, drawings, videos, music and performances, Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson (b.1976) expresses a lyrical gloom combined with a subtle sense of humor. In this video Kjartansson talks of how he likes theatre, neon signs and Abba, and he explains how acting out fake emotions can be very liberating. He talks of the special Scandinavian melancholia and how he feels both love and respect for Edvard Munch – while at the same time finding him incredibly funny. “It’s so banal that it becomes intellectual” he says of Munch’s work and calls him “the Elvis of Scandinavian pain.” “Scandinavian Pain” is an eleven-metre long, pink neon sign that Kjartansson originally installed on the roof of a barn in for the Momentum 2006 Biennial.
In 2009 when he was just 33 years old, Kjartansson became the youngest artist ever to represent Iceland at the Venice Biennale.
Ragnar Kjartansson was interviewed on a newly-built barn inside Moderna Museet Malmö in Sweden by Jonas Hjort.
Supported by Nordea-fonden