March 6–May 9
Ragnar Kjartansson is celebrated internationally for his work that combines musical, theatrical, and cinematic structures and scenarios to evoke personal and collective meaning through an immersive and emotional experience of art.
A portrayal of friendship, love, and loss, The Visitors (2012) is a mesmerizing nine-channel sound and video installation filmed at Rokeby Farm, a historic forty-three-room estate in upstate New York. Each of the individual audio and video channels features musicians playing instruments alone or in groups, isolated yet in unison, occupying different rooms of the romantically dilapidated estate. Typical of Kjartansson, the work depicts poignant moments in repetition and duration; rather than dulling our experience, it heightens it.
The musical composition consists of phrases from the performative work of artist Ásdís Sif Gunnarsdóttir. It presents a dynamic and moving ensemble performance Kjartansson refers to as a “feminine nihilistic gospel song.” Through its unique arrangement of music in space, The Visitors creates a layered portrait of the house and its musical inhabitants.
The prolonged sheltering in place we all experienced in 2020—characterized at times as being “alone together”—has dramatically changed for some our conception of home and our relationships with one another. The Visitors poignantly expresses the experience of love and loss, separation and reunion.
Artful Notes: David Coucheron and Michael Rooks on Ragnar Kjartansson
Michael Rooks, Wieland Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, will be joined by Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster David Coucheron in a special conversation about the art of the fugue in Ragnar Kjartansson’s The Visitors.
Free for Museum members. Please go to high.org for the date and time.
Top: The Visitors, 2012. Commissioned by the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich. © Ragnar Kjartansson. Courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York, and i8 Gallery, Reykjavik. Photo: Petri Virtanen/FNG (Finnish National Gallery).