15 Licks, 2005

Photo: i8 Gallery, Reykjavík

Ink on paper
21 x c. 28 cm (cut irregularly)

"The Licks are a fragment from my project for the Reykjavik Art Festival in 2005 called The Great Unrest. It took place in an old theater/dancehall by the ring road in the south of Iceland. The house has a stage and strange wonderful decaying decor. I filled the place with acts, drawings, sculptures, and old cassette recorders. Then I was on the stage constantly performing the blues during the whole art festival, six hours a day for three weeks. The Licks were situated in the old dressing room of the theater, next to the stage. In that room I placed 103 licks.” (RK)
Ragnar Kjartansson’s exuberant work crosses boundaries between all kind of genres—music, theater, visual arts, painting, film, stage set design, and collaborations with friends, musicians, other artists, and costume designers—with as much ease and grace as he switches between the roles and personas he creates and personifies. An epic homage to the theater and to the relentless genius of artistic creativity, The Great Unrest (2005) was the first public durational performance by Kjartansson, that however prefigured all the elements that will become the artist’s idiosyncratic style and celebrated work format. Taking place in a remote location on the foot of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, only 150 people actually made the detour to visit the hermit artist, but like all great stories of beginnings, today’s reputation of the performance outshines the historic event. (TBA21)

*1976 in Reykjavík, Iceland | Living and working in Reykjavík, Iceland