For his ‘Self portraits from room 413,’ Ragnar Kjartansson explains, “I checked myself into Room 413 at 3 o’clock on the 21st of March with five empty canvases and oil colours and a toothbrush. Then I checked myself out at two the next day with five self-portraits,” which will hang in the hotel’s gallery during the festival. Ragnar has done this sort of “performative painting” before—representing Iceland at the 2009 Venice Bienniale, he painted a friend, in public, every day for the duration—and describes the paintings that result as “documentations, in a way… The happening of the painting becomes omnipresent.” Over the course of time in which a painting, even a self-portrait, is being painted, the things surrounding it find their way in. Ragnar thinks the viewer will be able to see how his paintings grew out of the hotel’s “sort of ‘80s interior design, all that mahogany and gold and pale pink walls,” as well as its gallery, the most extensive survey of 20th century Icelandic painting on permanent view, including murals by Ragnar’s grandfather and namesake, the sculptor Ragnar Kjartansson.
– Mark Asch, Grapevine, 09.04.13