Ragnar Kjartansson is preoccupied with elements of visual art, music and theater, but considers himself mainly a performance artist for whom art is “like the blues… I use it to clean my soul.” His polyphonic and sometimes psychedelic work is based upon the tension between contradictory feelings – sorrow and happiness, horror and beauty, drama and humor. As such, it includes both cynical and romantic views of history and the present. Regional folk legends, pop vocabulary and the legacy of high art fuel Kjartansson’s poetic performances where melancholy and nostalgia are used as critical tools to investigate the world of an ontological doubt. Located in the courtyard of Manifattura Tabacchi, the SCHUMANN Machine features the artist’s “flaming” theatrics, whereby he restages a particular moment in history. Here, Kjartansson is accompanied by his piano virtuoso, the artist, Davið Þór Jónsson performing Robert Schumann’s Dichterliebe , and in particular Hör’ ich das Liedchen klingen , as a psychedelic and absurd loop, while simultaneously acting out quasi-Dadaistic, burlesque behavior (featuring the eating of truffles) in a decadent homage to the classic 20th century avant-garde. By creating a repetitive inferno using an iconic component of national identity, complemented by the athletic feat of two performers playing out a kitsch drama of lofty genre, the artists provide another ironic lament on the remnants of an industrial past and a society in transformation.
EX PETERLINI, VIA SAVIOLI 20 – MANIFATTURA TABACCHI, P.ZZA MANIFATTURA 1 -STAZIONE FERROVIARIA, PIAZZALE ORSI, I-38068 ROVERETO, ITALYmore