Ragnar Kjartansson engages multiple artistic mediums, creating video installations, performances, drawings, and paintings that draw upon myriad historical and cultural references.  An underlying pathos and irony connect his works, with each deeply influenced by the comedy and tragedy of classical theater. The artist blurs the distinctions between mediums, approaching his painting practice as performance, likening his films to paintings, and his performances to sculpture. Throughout, Kjartansson conveys an interest in beauty and its banality, and he uses durational, repetitive performance as a form of exploration.


Kjartansson (b. 1976) lives and works in Reykjavík. Major solo shows include exhibitions at the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Reykjavík Art Museum; the Barbican Centre, London; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Park, Washington D.C.; the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; the Palais de Tokyo, Paris; the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich; the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; De Pont Museum, Tilburg; and the Louisiana Museum for Modern Art, Humlebæk, among others. Kjartansson participated in The Encyclopedic Palace at the Venice Biennale in 2013, Manifesta 10 in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2014, and he represented Iceland at the 2009 Venice Biennale. The artist received the 2019 Ars Fennica Award, and was the recipient of the 2015 Artes Mundi’s Derek Williams Trust Purchase Award, and Performa’s 2011 Malcolm McLaren Award.

Public Exhibitions

b. 1976 in Reykjavik

Lives and works in Reykjavik





Iceland Academy of the Arts, Reykjavík, Iceland



The Royal Academy, Stockholm, Sweden, exchange student



Hússtjórnarskólinn, Reykjavík, Iceland






Mother and Child, Gin and Tonic, i8 Gallery, Reykjavík, Iceland 



The Things You See Before the Curtain Hits the Floor, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico

Epic Waste of Love and Understanding, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark

não sofra mais, Santa Clara-a-Nova Monastery in Coimbra, Portugal

The Visitors, Akureyri Art Museum, Iceland

The Visitors, Esker Foundation, Calgary, Canada

The Visitors, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich, Switzerland



There's a song in my heart and a hammer in my brain, Luhring Augustine, New York

Ragnar Kjartansson: Time Changes Everything, De Pont Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Schmerz, Theater Spektakel, Saffa Island, Zürich, Switzerland  

The Sky in a Room, St Mary Magdalene Church, Tanworth-in-Arden, England

Der Klang der Offenbarung des Göttlichen, Volkstheater Wien, Vienna, Austria 

Ragnar Kjartansson:Emotional Landscapes, Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain

Ragnar Kjartansson: The Underworld of Akureyri, Icelandic Art Center, Reykjavik, Iceland 



Ragnar Kjartansson: Santa Barbara, GES-2 House of Culture, V-A-C Foundation, Moscow, Russia

Ragnar Kjartansson: Death is Elsewhere, Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, Montréal, Canada

Ragnar Kjartansson: Romantic Songs of the Patriarchy,  Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY

Ragnar Kjartansson: Sumarnótt, National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland

Ragnar Kjartansson: The Visitors, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Boston, MA



Ragnar Kjartansson: Death is Elsewhere, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada

Ragnar Kjartansson: The Visitors, Institute of Contemporary Art / Boston, Boston, MA

Ragnar Kjartansson: The Sky in the Room, Church of San Carlo al Lazzaretto, Milan, Italy



Focus On: Ragnar Kjartansson, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas, USA

Ragnar Kjartansson: Scenes from Western Culture, Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Oregon, USA

The Visitors, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland

Ragnar Kjartansson. The Man, Centro de Creación Contemporánea de Andalucía, Cordoba, Spain

Scheize – Liebe – Sehnsucht, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany

Ragnar Kjartansson: A Lot of Sorrow, Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Canada

Ragnar Kjartansson: The Visitors, MFA The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, USA

Ragnar Kjartansson: Death Is Elsewhere, The Met Fifth Avenue, New York, USA

Ragnar Kjartansson: The Visitors, ICA Institute of Contemporary Art / Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Figures in Landscape, i8 Gallery, Iceland



Romantic Songs of the PatriarchyWomen’s Building, San Francisco, California, USA

Krieg (War), National Theatre of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland

Ragnar Kjartansson: A Lot of Sorrow, Faurschou Foundation Beijing, Beijing, China 

S.S. Hangover, The Contemporary, Austin, USA

Ragnar Kjartansson: The Sky in a Room, National Museum Cardiff, Wales

Ragnar Kjartansson: The Visitors, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH



Ragnar Kjartansson: God I feel so bad, Reykjavik Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland

Raw Salon: Ein Rohspiel, Volksbühne, Berlin, Germany

No Tomorrow (with Margrét Bjarnadóttir) performed by the Icelandic Dance Company, London, UK and Reykjavik, Iceland



Ragnar Kjartansson, Barbican, London, UK;Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., USA



The Visitors, The Frist Center, Nashville, USA

Ragnar Kjartansson, Luhring Augustine, New York, USA

Ragnar Kjartansson, Luhring Augustine Bushwick, New York, USA

Ragnar Kjartansson, Copenhagen Contemporary, Kaupmannahöfn, Denmark

The Visitors, Le Printemps de septembre, Toulouse, France

A Lot of Sorrow, Ragnar Kjartansson and the National, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA

Architecture and Moralitycca, Tel Aviv, Israel

Krieg (War), Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg Platz, Berlin, Germany

The Visitors,University of Buffalo Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, USA

Woman in E, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit, Michigan, USA

Ragnar Kjartansson, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Montréal, Canada



Seul celui qui connaît le désir, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France



The Visitors, The Vinyl Factory, London, UK

A Lot of Sorrow, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

The End, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit, Michigan, USA

The Fall, Berliner Festspiele, Berlin, Germany

A Lot of Sorrow, Ragnar Kjartansson and The National,König Galerie, Berlin, Germany

Song, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Me and My Mother, i8 Gallery, Reykjavík, Iceland

The End, Fremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle, Australia

The Visitors, Faena Art Center, Buenos Aires, Argentina

The Visitors, Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

The Visitors and The Man, John Curtin Gallery, Perth, Australia



Black Box: Ragnar Kjartansson, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.USA



The End – Rocky Mountains, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba, Canada

The Palace of the Summerland, Ragnar Kjartansson and Friends, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, Austria

A Lot of Sorrow, Ragnar Kjartansson and The National, Luhring Augustine Bushwick, New York, USA

Bjarni Bummer Listens to Take it Easy by the Eagles, Skúrinn, Reykjavík, Iceland

Me, My Mother, My Father and I, New Museum, New York, USA

The Visitors, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, USA

Der Klang der Offenbarung des Göttlichen, Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg Platz, Berlin, Germany

The Visitors, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain



The Visitors, Kling & Bang Gallerí, Reykjavík, Iceland

The Visitors, Hangar Bicocca, Milan, Italy



Ragnar Kjartansson, Gund Gallery, Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio, USA

A Lot of Sorrow, Ragnar Kjartansson and The National, MoMA PS1, New York, USA

The Visitors, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, Austria

The End, Szene Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria

The Visitors, Luhring Augustine, New York, USA

Scandinavian Pain: Ragnar Kjartansson, Edvard Munch, Moderna Museet, Malmö, Sweden



The End, Scrap Metal Gallery, Toronto, Canada

The Visitors, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich, Switzerland





Kaleidoscope: Icelandic 21st Century Art, Reykjavik Art Museum, Reykjavík, Iceland

The Last of Animal Builders, Edith Farnsworth House, Plano, USA
Painting is Dead, Kunstpakhuset, Ikast, Denmark
Reaching for the Stars: From Maurizio Cattelan to Lynette Yiadom BoakyeFondazione Palazzo

Strozzi, Florence, Italy




H2H, Athens, Greece

Call/Response: The Gund Gallery Turns 10, Gund Gallery, Kenyon College, Gambier, USA
To Moscow! To Moscow! To Moscow!, GES-2 House of Culture, V-A-C Foundation, Moscow, Russia

Eternal Recurrence, Reykjavik Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland

The Pleasure Pavilion: A Series of Installations, Luhring Augustine Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY Plus One, Luhring Augustine, New York, USA



The Blue Peal of Bells, Museum of Contemporary Art Busan, Busan, South Korea

AGAINandAGAINandAGAINand, MAMbo - Museo d'Arte Moderna di Bologna, Bologna, Italy

Come Closer, Biennale Ve veci umeni / Matter of Art 2020 (VVUMOA), Prague City Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic

Photography’s Last Century: The Collection of Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA 
Unique, Parkett Space, Zurich, Switzerland
Up to and Including Limits: After Carolee Schneemann, Muzeum Susch, Susch, Switzerland



Happy !, NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale, USA 

MOMENTUM 10 - The Emotional Exhibition, Galleri F 15, Moss, Norway

Nordic Impressions - Contemporary Art from Åland, Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway & Sweden,  ASF + Scandinavia House, New York, USA



Allting föreställer. Ingenting är., Gävle Konstcentrum, Gävle, Sweden

Nordic Impressions: Art from Åland, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Finland

Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, 1821-2017, Phillips Collection, Washington D.C, USA 



Double Lives: Visual Artists Making Music, museum moderner kunst stiftung ludwig wien, Viena, Austria

Nordic Views, Galleri Bo Bjerggaard, Copenhagen, Denmark

You Are Here: Light, Color, and Sound Experiences, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, USA



Commissions from Performa’s Archives, Whitechapel Gallery, London, England

La mère la mer, McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, San Francisco, USA

Leonard Cohen: Une brèche en toute chose / A Crack in Everything, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Montreal, Canada



Soundtracks, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA

The Voice, Coreana Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea

Opnun, Kling og Bang, Reykjavik, Iceland

Nordic Matters, Southbank Centre, London, UK



Dicker als Wasser: Konzepte des Familiären in der zeitgenössischen Kunst, Kunstpalais & Stadtische Sammlung Erlangen, Erlangen

Reading Prison, Art Angel, Reading, UK 

Life Serial, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery – Columbia University, New York, USA

I See a Darkness, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy

Illumination, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark

Auf den Schultern von Giganten, Kunsthalle Mainz, Mainz, Germany

Moving Image Department – 4th Chapter: The Rhetoric Of Time, Revisited, National Gallery Prague, Veletržní Palace, Prague, Czech Republic

Collection on Display: Momentary Monuments, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich, Switzerland

Lines of Flight: Life Serial, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University, New York, USA
Spring Performance Festival, Kunstverein, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Galerie Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam, The Netherlands



Sound in Motion, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany



The Bauhaus #itsalldesign, Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany; Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, Germany

Inaugural installation, The Broad, Los Angeles, California, USA

Saga. Iceland: Art and Narrative, Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn, Estonia



Drifting in Daylight: Art in Central Park, Creative Time and Central Park Conservancy, Central Park, New York, USA

Falling Fictions, me Collectors Room, Berlin, Germany

Fireflies in the Night, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, Athens, Greece

Framing Desire: Photography and Video, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, Texas, USA

An Imprecise Science, Artspace, Woolloomooloo, Australia

MusicNOW Festival, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, USA

Listening, Baltic 39, Newcastle, UK; The Bluecoat, Liverpool, UK; Site Gallery, Sheffield, UK; Art Exchange, Colchester, UK

Piano Pieces – Pianos. Sounds. Art., Neue Residenz, Salzburg Museum, Salzburg, Austria

Sounds from a Safe Harbour Festival of Music, Art and Conversation, Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, Ireland

The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, Home Manchester, Manchester, UK

Saga: Narrative Art, Listasafn Islands, National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland

Überschönheit, Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg, Austria

 Und weg mit den Minuten. Dieter Roth und die Musik, Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum fur Gegenwart, Berlin, Germany

Parasophia: Kyoto International Festival of Contemporary Culture 2015, Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan

A man walks into a bar… ., me Collectors Room Berlin, Berlin, Germany



Artes Mundi 6, Ffotogallery, Cardiff, Wales, UK



High Performance: Time-Based Media Art since 1996 from the Julia Stoschek Collection, Rīgas Mākslas  Telpa, Riga, Latvia

Imaginary Portraits: Prince Igor, Arnold and Marie Schwartz Gallery Met, New York, USA

Manifesta 10, Vitebsk Station, St. Petersburg, Russia

Rolling Snowball 5, Chinese European Art Center, Djúpivogur, Iceland

Score, Museo de Arte Contemporánea de Vigo, Vigo, Spain

Your Compound View, Reykjavík Art Museum, Reykjavík, Iceland

Island: Wenn Bilder erzählen, Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, Recklinghausen, Germany

All Together Now, Nuit Blanche, Hart House, Toronto, Canada

Stanze/Rooms, Works from the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Collection, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy

Truly Flabby Preludes (For a Dog) 1/4: Pink Noise, La Maison Populaire, Montreuil, France



Göteborg Biennial, with Andjeas Ejiksson, Stora Teatren, Gothenburg, Sweden

Towada Art Festival at Towada Art Centre, Japan

Civilization: Monumental Materialism. Artists colony, MoMA PS1, New York, USA

Deep Feelings: From Antiquity to Now, Kunsthalle Krems, Krems an der Donau, Austria, Venice Biennale, Arsenale di Venezia, Venice, Italy

A Space called Public, part of Elmgreen & Dragset’s project of public artworks, Munich, Germany

Il Palazzo Enciclopedico (The Encyclopaedic Palace) 55th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy 

Trekk: Contemporary Currents in Icelandic Art Today, Sogn og Fjordane Kunstmuseum, Forde, Norway

1.pers.sing.: The artist’s body between self-portrait and performance, b-05 Kunst- und Kulturzentrum Association e.V, Montabaur, Germany

Sequences VI Real Time Art Festival, Reykjavík



I Wish this was a Song: Music in Contemporary Art, Nasjonalmuseet, Oslo, Norway

Songs of space, time and lust, Ephemeropterae˜ XIV / XV+, tba21, Vienna, Austria

Á Ciel Ouvert - Le Nouveau Pleinairisme, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Quebec, Canada

True Stories, Locks Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Bliss, The National Theatre of Iceland as part of The Reykjavík Art Festival, Iceland

A House Full of Music: Strategies in Music and Art, Institute Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany

Discussing Metamodernism, Galerie Tanja Wagner, Berlin, Germany

It’s Not the End of the World, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy




21c Museum Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, Cardiff, Wales

Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada

Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA

The Broad Art Foundation, USA

Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, USA

Center for Curatorial Studies – Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, USA

Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas, USA

Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, Iowa, USA

El Mirador Project, University of Arizona Health Sciences, Tucson, USA

Faurschou Foundation, Copenhagen, Denmark

Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo,Turin, Italy

Glenstone, Potomac, USA

Gund Gallery, Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio, USA

Haudenschild Collection, La Jolla, USA

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C, USA

Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany

The Living Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen, Denmark

McEvoy Foundation of the Arts, San Francisco, USA

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA

Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich, Switzerland

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, Texas, USA

Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden

Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Montréal, Canada

Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Miami, Florida, USA

Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA

Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerp, Belgium

Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej w Warszawie, Warsaw, Poland

National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada

National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland

Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, USA

Reykjavík Art Museum, Reykjavík, Iceland

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California, USA

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA

Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, Austria

University of Copenhagen Maersk Tower, Copenhagen, Denmark

V-A-C Foundation, Moscow, Russia


Art Fairs