Ragnar is an artist whose work is installed in the Dallas Museum of Art. His last name is patronymic. (I didn’t know what that meant either) A patronym is when you incorporate a portion of your father’s name into your own name. Like Johnson, for “son of John”. So I think the second portion of his name means “son of Kjartan”. According to Wikipedia, it’s not actually his family name. Interesting.
Wikipedia says he does video installations and “collective emotion is a hallmark of his practice.”
Nine screens are suspended in a dark hallway in the DMA. Each screen is shot within a different location of the same house. A musician may be sitting at a piano in an elaborate living room or strumming on a guitar in a masculine study filled with books with similar colored spines. A group is gathered on the porch in another video, singing behind a disinterested man beneath an umbrella.
It’s easy to get distracted by the scenes that unfolds in front of you.
I wondered if the man playing a guitar partially submerged in his bubble bath would ruin the instrument. I questioned why some rooms appeared extravagant and in others, the paint was chipping. And what was that man doing in front of the porch…was he symbolic of something?
It takes a moment to realize that each musician is wearing headphones and is creating the music I am listening to. Without seeing each other, or even being in the same area, the melody rises up, drifts back down again, in perfect unison.
It’s beautiful. Haunting.
You should definitely go see it.
What’s the lesson? In the beginning, I was caught up in the visuals. The superficials. I worried about insignificant details and didn’t recognize what was happening.
Ragnar allows you to be a part of the emotional experience of the music. It’s a sensory experience unlike anything I’ve ever done.
You should definitely go see it. (It’s free!)