The Gund


Ragnar Kjartansson Press Release

The Gund Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of two recent video installations, “The Visitors” (2012) and “The Man” (2010), by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson (b. 1976). Filmed on the location of Rokeby Farm in the Hudson River Valley, “The Visitors” assembles a close group of Kjartansson’s friends—artists and renowned musicians from Reykjavik and beyond—whom each contribute individual performances to a collective musical project. The title is borrowed from the 1981 Swedish pop band ABBA album. It was supposed to be the band’s last and was produced as internal strife and divorce broke up their collaboration. The lyrics to Kjartansson’s “The Visitors” belong to a poem by artist Ásdís Sif Gunnarsdóttir, Kjartansson’s ex-wife, combined with the musical arrangement of another artist, Davíð Þór Jónsson. In a single take, the artist’s friends perform the emotional 64-minute piece while in nine separate rooms throughout the Hudson Valley home. Rokeby House has been in the same family for over 200 years. Its current owners, who also participate in the performance, are dedicated to maintaining bohemian lifestyle. “The Visitors” premiered in North America at Luhring Augustine (NYC) after first being presented at the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Zürich.

“The Man” is a single-projection work featuring legendary blues pianist Pinetop Perkins. Perkins, who performed for over seven decades, was the oldest surviving blues performer from the Delta region until his passing in 2011. His performance extends Kjartansson’s fascination with repetition and endurance, as well as portraiture. It was filmed in 2010 outside of Austin, Texas. “The Man” was most recently part of a solo exhibition organized by the Carnegie Museum of Art in 2011, which has since toured to the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.

Kjartansson’s work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions aroud the world, including the Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff, Canada, The Sundance Film Festival New Frontier, Park City, Utah, and Hafnarborg, The Hafnarfjordur Centre of Culture and Fine Art, Hafnarfjörður, Iceland. The artist has also participated in the 2nd Turin Triennial, Turin, Italy, Manifesta 8, Rovereto, Italy, and Repeat Performances: Roni Horn and Ragnar Kjartansson, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, among others. His work is included in numerous museum collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Dallas Museum of Art, Texas, North Miami Museum of Contemporary Art, Florida, and The National Gallery of Canada, Ontario. Other recent solo exhibitions of his work have been held at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, Frankfurter Kunstverein, and the BAWAG Contemporary in Vienna. He was the youngest artist to represent Iceland at the 2009 Venice Biennale’s International Art Exhibition.

Additionally, the exhibition launches the 2013-2014 curatorial and programmatic theme entitled “Vernacular Meaning.” The theme, which moves across media, time, space and disciplinary boundaries, is intended to bring focus to the ways in which new perspectives and ideas are created through contemplation of the everyday, the domestic, the local and the commonplace.

Opened in the fall of 2011, the Gund is located on the beautiful 1,000-acre wooded campus of Kenyon College in the village of Gambier, Ohio just 45 miles from downtown Columbus. The Gund is dedicated to presenting art and visual culture of the 20th-21st centuries reflecting the interdisciplinary mission of liberal arts education. Exhibitions and all public programs are free and open to the public. For more information visit or call 740-427-5972 or email

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