Film still -  Ragnar Kjartansson: Death is Elsewhere

Ragnar Kjartansson (b. 1976, Reykjavík, Iceland), Death Is Elsewhere, 2019,Seven-channel video with sound, 77 minutes. Purchased in honour of Kitty Scott for her contributions to the AGO by Shabin and Nadir Mohamed.  Supported by the AGO


Ragnar Kjartansson: Death is Elsewhere

November 7, 2020 - June 26, 2022

Located in Signy Eaton, Gallery 224

Admission is always FREE for AGO Members, AGO Annual Pass Holders & Visitors 25 and under. Learn more.


Ragnar Kjartansson is an internationally known performance and video artist living and working in Reykjavík. Panoramic in scope, the installation is comprised of a circle of seven screens. Filmed under the midnight sun in the shadow of the Laki volcano in South Iceland, the artwork offers visitors an immersive experience in a lush landscape of green grass and grey blue skies, punctuated at times by lava fields. Across this landscape, in opposition to each other, two couples move slowly, each comprised of one member of a set of twins. The couples encircle the viewer, singing in unison repeatedly, a sad song of beauty and loss.

Death is Elsewhere is the latest in a series of works by Kjartansson in which a single song is performed or a phrase is uttered, without beginning or end, in a nearly continuous loop. Triggering in viewers a subtle discomfort, Kjartansson’s work combines elements of the tragic, comic and absurd, compounding their impact over time. His choice of locations, beautiful and sparse, only amplifies the emotional impact of the musical accompaniment.

The video features two sets of twins, both frequent collaborators with the artist: Kristín Anna and Gyða Valtýsdóttir, both founding members of the seminal, atmospheric Icelandic band múm, and Aaron and Bryce Dessner of the renowned American alt-rock band The National. 

Death is Elsewhere was recently acquired by the AGO, with generous support from Shabin and Nadir Mohamed.




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