The rollicking charm of the videos and installations by Ragnar Kjartansson (Icelandic, b. Reykjavik, 1976) often derives from his interpersonal relationships with his family, friends, and bandmates. Confessional as well as performance-art-oriented, the artist’s works frequently include music and sometimes involve extended duration.
At the 2013 Venice Biennale, Kjartansson took over a waterside post and assembled a floating concert with a brass band aboard a small, vintage-style wooden boat. Evoking summer park concerts and the gliding pace of gondolas, the craft traveled along an arcaded canal, picking up and dropping off passengers as it made its way round and round. When visitors encountered the surprising scenario, they were prompted to smile at the unabashed sentimentality of the interactive work. What few knew at the time, however, was that the artist was filming the proceedings from a different perspective; the resulting footage is the core of S.S. Hangover.