Performance Art

Icelandic pop star brings live performance to Venice.

Ragnar Kjartansson, the Icelandic artist who burst on the scene as something of a prodigy, is appearing at the Biennale with an unconventional new piece. The video and installation artist ranks among pop stars in his country musically, along with Bjork, and music features prominently in his work. “The End,” his Biennale project, is a live performance combined with a 30-minute music video he shot while in the Canadian Rockies. (It’s inspired by one of Caspar David Friedrich’s paintings.) The live performance portion is billed as a tableau vivant—Kjartansson will spend six months incommunicado in Venice, painting the likeness of his near-nude artist friend six days a week. Male gaze will meet male gaze, and artist will confront artist in an attempt to make the portrait process more egalitarian.