Ragnar Kjartansson at De Pont
Sept. 23, 2022
No Tomorrow is a cinematic installation, the product of a collaboration between Ragnar Kjartansson, choreographer Margrét Bjarnadóttir, and composer Bryce Dessner. The visitor is surrounded by six large screens showing eight women, dressed in jeans and white T-shirt, strumming acoustic guitars as they circle around, as if forming some ethereal, translucent carousel of meticulously constructed choreographies.
Any boundary between space and time seems to fade away as the music becomes the dance, and the dance, the music. The work incorporates a song based on extracts from the 18th-century novella No Tomorrow by Vivant Denon and fragments from the work of the ancient Greek poet Sappho. The installation evokes simultaneous associations with 1940s song-and-dance films and Kjartansson’s favourite painter, Antoine Watteau. Besides No Tomorrow, the exhibition encompasses work from all phases of Kjartansson’s artistic career, including videos (one being Me and My Mother, which De Pont acquired in 2020), installations, paintings, sculptures, sketchbooks, and graphics. The museum’s main hall will be the venue for the spellbinding 2016 performance work Woman in E, in which a woman wearing a sparkling golden dress stands on a rotating dais, repeatedly strumming an E-minor chord on an electric guitar. The E-minor chord is universally associated with melancholy, and exceptionally well-suited for the expression of wistful feelings and brooding heartache. Woman in E will be performed in the main hall continuously, by a rotating pool of 14 performers, for the duration of the exhibition.
The exhibition Time Changes Everything runs until 29 January 2023.