Originally published in What’s that Cat’s Story. â—Šâ—Š
For all the impressive effort that went into its presentation, The Visitors, 2012, emanates languor and mellow sadness. The nine-channel video and sound installation is the Icelandic artistâ€™s latest attempt to achieve a state of â€œdivine boredom,â€ and The Visitors is a humble success. A soulful song, with lyrics based on a poem by the artistâ€™s estranged wife, is performed simultaneously in nine different rooms of the romantically disheveled Rokeby Farm in upstate New York. Each projection features an hour-long continuous shot of a solo musician or a group, crooning while accompanied by an instrument or two. With plaintive vulnerability, a naked Kjartansson covers the song on guitar while sitting half-submerged in bathwater. At the opposite end of the muted emotional spectrum is a jovial chorus outside the house, punctuating their rendition with occasional cannon fire. Over the course of the installation, the songâ€™s loose unison disintegrates into distinct voices that fade in and out, conjuring intimacy and loneliness at once. (Through Mar. 17. Luhring Augustine)
Images courtesy of the gallery and the artist.