Ragnar Kjartansson

Artist crooning across the world

In the past 12 months, the charismatic endurance-singer, -painter and -performer has extended his cultlike following to the good people of Montreal, Chicago, Buffalo, New York, Detroit, Copenhagen, London and Paris. Kjartansson’s seductive films and happenings contain complex questions concerning authenticity and the role of the romantic in art (an age-old one, admittedly), quoting structuralism, avant-garde theatre and the narrative traditions of Iceland along the way. Yet while there is more than enough for art critics to sink their teeth into, what has really won him fans across these cities and led The Guardian to note him as ‘one of the most brilliant artists at work today’ is that, like a really great pop song, a Kjartansson show can pull you through an emotional mill and back again.