World Light - The Life and Death of an Artist, 2015

Still: Courtesy the artist | Luhring Augustine, New York | i8 Gallery, Reykjavík

Four-channel video installation, color, sound
Book 1: 4 hrs
Book 2: 3 hrs 13 min
Book 3: 5 hrs 4 min
Book 4: 8 hrs 27 min
Overall dimensions variable
Commissioned by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary

Ragnar Kjartansson's four-channel video installation World Light - The Life and Death of an Artist is the cinematic outcome of Kjartansson's four-week performance "The Palace of the Summerland", which took place at TBA21–Augarten in April 2014.
The performance and the resulting film are both based on the novel World Light by Halldór Laxness.

Halldór Laxness wrote World Light between 1937 and 1940, during the outbreak of World War II. "The Palace of the Summerland", named after the second book in the novel, revolves around the tragic and fateful life of its protagonist: folk poet Ólafur Kárason, whose constant search for true beauty and artistic gratification leads to his tragic demise.

As Kjartansson explains, “This story has molded my approach to art more than anything else… It colored my whole worldview… World Light is an epic about the artist. An ironic tale of beauty and artistic integrity written in the crucible of modernism, it is equally an ode to beauty and a deconstruction of it. It speaks to an important 21st-century core: the politics of beauty.”

*1976 in Reykjavík, Iceland | Living and working in Reykjavík, Iceland
World Light - Behind The Scene, a video by Tomas Örn Tomasson