The End, 2009
5 channel digital video installation, 30:30 minutes
installation dimensions variable
National Gallery of Canada (no. 42970)
Photo © NGC, Image courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York, and i8 Gallery, Reykjavik
Icelandic artist and musician Ragnar Kjartansson produced "The End" at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Banff, Alberta, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. Against this sublime backdrop Kjartansson and fellow Icelandic musician David Thor Jonsson took a series of musical instruments out into the winter cold to jam out a song that hobbles along in fits and starts. Wearing typically "frontier" attire, including fur hats and cowboy boots, the duo parodies notions of the "Wild West" and themes in Icelandic folklore. In his first encounter with the Rockies, Kjartansson whimsically embraces the rugged Canadian landscape with a lighthearted yet sincere search for creative originality. Conjuring age-old conceptions of the artist as a romantic, this experimental five-projection video offers a blithe poetic commentary on the inspirational power of nature.