Two Icelanders On Top 25 Artists Of 21st Century List, One Of Them In Top Spot - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Two Icelanders On Top 25 Artists Of 21st Century List, One Of Them In Top Spot

Published September 17, 2019

Andie Fontaine
Photos by
Art Bicnick

Two Icelandic artists not only made the cut in The Guardian’s Best Visual Art Of The 21st Century list; one of them, Ragnar Kjartansson (seen above), made the top spot.

Ragnar topped the list, beating out such celebrated artists as Ai Wewei and Tacita Dean, for his video installation piece The Visitors.

“You feel like a guest yourself in this marvellous, immersive multiscreen film,” the Guardian writes of the piece. “The film’s absurdities and longeurs, the light, and the concentration of all the performers and the repetition of the song is utterly compelling and hypnotic. Youthfulness and idealism feel like a fading dream in the evening’s light. The Visitors is a kind of extended farewell to romanticism, to which Ragnar is both drawn and deeply suspicious of. Writing this, I want to see The Visitors again, immediately.”

Further down the list, but at a nonetheless impressive 11th place, is Ólafur Elíasson, for his installation piece The Weather Project.

“Eliasson’s hallucinatory installation in the Tate Turbine Hall had people lying on the floor, mellowing out to his shimmering recreation of a Turneresque sky inside the museum,” the Guardian writes. “He would be very good at staging a Pink Floyd reunion. But in fact he is a very thoughtful artist, fascinated by colour, light and the fragile state of nature. This unforgettable spectacle was the most over-the-top in a string of dazzling installations and interventions that have proved Elisasson one of the century’s most significant artists.”

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