Ragnar Kjartansson Exhibit | Portland Museum of Art,
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Event: Ragnar Kjartansson Exhibit

Presented by: Portland Museum of Art
Portland Museum of Art, Portland

More About Portland Museum of Art:

The PMA boasts significant holdings of American, European, and contemporary art, as well as iconic works from Maine-highlighting the rich artistic tradition of the state and its artists. The museum brings it all to life with unparalleled programming. From special members-only events, Free School Tours, and a commitment to family activities, to PMA Movies, curator talks, and exclusive tours of the Winslow Homer Studio-it's all happening at the PMA.


This fall, the Portland Museum of Art is excited to present Ragnar Kjartansson’s Scenes from Western Culture.

November 2, 2019 to March 1, 2020

The Icelandic artist’s 2015 work, a nine-screen installation of videos, depicts a faintly absurd and occasionally ominous vision of Western life.

In Scenes from Western Culture, Kjartansson shows various vignettes of ideal images of Western daily life—a couple dining together, a speedboat on a Swiss lake, a couple making love in a sleek, minimal interior, an afternoon swim, the burning of a forest cabin, upper-class children playing in a Munich garden. These videos explore the artist’s fascination with social norms, theatrical artifice, and idle pleasure, inspired in part by French Rococo painter Jean-Antoine Watteau’s pastoral scenes of 18th century aristocrats.

These “cinematic paintings” resonate in us with familiarity and apparent banality, yet their tranquil nature and static scenes with a visual language verging on slick advertisement break down the barrier between reality and fiction. Each video is the fragment of a scene where the central meaning is hidden from the viewer and several narrative interpretations are possible. These works, like Watteau’s ambiguous paintings, both depict the desires of Western society and serve as tenderly mocking cultural commentaries.
Send Inquiry:
7 Congress Square
Portland, Maine, 04101
(207) 775.6148
f.(207) 773.7324
Happening between:
  • Saturday, Nov 2 - Sunday, Mar 1, 2020

This fall, the Portland Museum of Art is excited to present Ragnar Kjartansson’s Scenes from Western Culture.

November 2, 2019 to March 1, 2020

The Icelandic artist’s 2015 work, a nine-screen installation of videos, depicts a faintly absurd and occasionally ominous vision of Western life.

In Scenes from Western Culture, Kjartansson shows various vignettes of ideal images of Western daily life—a couple dining together, a speedboat on a Swiss lake, a couple making love in a sleek, minimal interior, an afternoon swim, the burning of a forest cabin, upper-class children playing in a Munich garden. These videos explore the artist’s fascination with social norms, theatrical artifice, and idle pleasure, inspired in part by French Rococo painter Jean-Antoine Watteau’s pastoral scenes of 18th century aristocrats.

These “cinematic paintings” resonate in us with familiarity and apparent banality, yet their tranquil nature and static scenes with a visual language verging on slick advertisement break down the barrier between reality and fiction. Each video is the fragment of a scene where the central meaning is hidden from the viewer and several narrative interpretations are possible. These works, like Watteau’s ambiguous paintings, both depict the desires of Western society and serve as tenderly mocking cultural commentaries.
Happening between:
  • Saturday, Nov 2 - Sunday, Mar 1, 2020
ConvenientMD
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207-772-5800 | info@visitportland.com