Me staring at Jeff Koons’ Tulips at The Broad, LA
…blew me away. The Broad Museum was a refreshing and elegant experience. I kept thinking, “uh oh, do they know I got in here?”
Yes Jeff Koons was stunning, yes Keith Haring inspired me, and Takashi Murakami’s paintings were so intricate I learned a whole new definition for the word detail. But, the art piece that really got under my skin was by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson, The Visitors.
A scene from “The Visitors”
“A nine-screen video art installation by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson, which features nine musicians playing a piece of music simultaneously, but scattered in various rooms of a decaying mansion.” –The Observer
The music alone would have been striking, but the experience of walking through the 9 screens, each one singling out every musician in their element, is an emotional interaction. The piece weaves you through an old home filled with eclectic items and focuses on whimsical, Mumford and Sons like characters. I immediately wanted to change into a tattered gown, straddle a cello and sit in a field.
A scene from “The Visitors”.
“To one onlooker what was most striking was the extraordinary emotional range and intensity of their performances. Limited to just a few simple lyrics, which they repeated dozens of times, the singers created an entirely absorbing ensemble piece that was alternately tragic and joyful, meditative and clamorous, and that swelled in feeling from melancholic fugue to redemptive gospel choir.” – The New York Times
UH YEAH! I was ready to fall down on my knees and bawl my face off.
The viewer witnesses each member of the band in a private moment. It’s an intimate relationship that you almost feel you are violating by peeping in. You even watch the artist, a part of his own installation, play guitar in the bathtub. By experiencing their private moment you are a part of the story, visually and audibly. Depending on where you are in the room, you can experience each individual’s voice and instrument, or in the center you can hear the compilation as a whole. Eventually at the finale you see all of the people react at the same moment to a single blast from outside the house, only then do you realize they are all a part of the same moment in time.
Kjartansson in the bathtub from “The Visitors”
“Over the course of an hour his voice falls and rises, on its own and in unison with performers on the other eight screens — each seen as if in a painting, playing an instrument in a different room of a beautiful, run-down mansion and singing the same enigmatic refrain at a dirgelike pace.” – The New York Times
I am counting down the days till I can go back and sit in that room. The title may be The Visitors but goodness it felt like I was a part of a family. (GUSH).
All photos sources from: Ragnar Kjartansson/Luhring Augustine, New York and i8 Gallery, Reykjavik