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40 Under 40 Europe 2014

Ragnar Kjartansson

27 August 2014

There is a sense of epic ambition – and rare humour – about Ragnar Kjartansson’s performative ventures. For Variation on Meat Joy (2013) – alluding to Carolee Schneemann’s infamous romp in raw meat – he created a Rococo dining room in Tate Modern where costumed diners’ slow mastication was recorded and magnified grotesquely; in 2011 he staged the final aria from Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro on loop for 12 hours. ‘In Iceland,’ he has commented, ‘there is a 1,000-year history, and no proof that it existed, but there are all these stories – the poetry, the sagas. And my performance works exist mostly as stories.’