Back in 2016, to coincide with the exhibition Ragnar Kjartansson, on view at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (February 11 to May 22, 2016), the Musée was proud to present the North American premiere of the musical-theater production, Der Klang der Offenbarung des Göttlichen The Explosive Sonics of Divinity at Théâtre Maisonneuve, Place des Arts.

Set to music by Kjartan Sveinsson, former keyboard player for the hit band Sigur Rós, this romantic drama with Wagnerian overtones is performed by 39 musicians and 16 singers from the Metropolitan Orchestra. A tribute to traditional theatre stagecraft, with no characters other than Iceland’s landscape that inspired the immense moving backdrops painted by the artist and his friends in Reykjavik, this piece of performance art is a testament to Kjartansson’s creativity and is part of a series of creations inspired by Halldór Laxness’s book World Light.

Biography of the artist

Ragnar Kjartansson was born in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1976. He studied at the Iceland Academy of Arts and the Royal Swedish Academy in Stockholm. His works have been shown in museums and institutions around the world, including the Arthouse at the Jones Center in Austin (2011), the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston (2012) and the Hangar Bicocca in Milan (2013). Recently, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary in Vienna (2013 and 2014) and the New Museum in New York (2014) presented solo shows of Kjartansson’s works. In 2009, Kjartansson represented Iceland at the Venice Biennale, and in 2011 he received the Malcolm McLaren Award at Performa 13 in New York.

Conversation between John Zeppetelli and Ragnar Kjartansson

Last May 27, 2020, MAC Director and Chief Curator, John Zeppetelli hosted a conversation with Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson, as part as the presentation of Der Klang der Offenbarung des Göttlichen / The Explosive Sonics of Divinity  (May 21, June 5, 2020).

A not to be missed conversation to learn more about the career, the process, the emblematic works and the upcoming projects of an exceptional artist!