Love Letter to Ragnar Kjartansson

Elena Soboleva
Sep 8, 2014 6:16AM

To coincide with the opening of Ragnar Kjartansson's A Lot of Sorrow at Luhring Augustine in Bushwick, here's an ode to  oeuvre. Set to the iambics of Alexander Pushkin, Tatiana's Letter to Onegin.

I write to you – my heart's confession,
My Nordic, ginger-bearded Bliss,
I know it's now in your discretion
To seal my fate with just one kiss.

I've watched you from afar and closely
At New Mu, Performa, P.S.1,
Seduced by other artists none.
Through Venice, gloriously sailing,
In Long Island City, gently wailing,
Your forlorn song on ukulele,
In your tie-dye Colony so gayly.

I could watch Mozart on repeat,
A Lot of Sorrow in defeat,
In hopes that maybe once a week
I see your work, or hear you speak,
Elate my mind till our next greeting,
Fill it with ecstasy and then
Thought, day and night, and thought again
About your art, till our next meeting.

Why did you visit me, but why?
The Visitor of my mind's delusions,
Once again, fall into feminine ways, I
In your nine channels of allusions.
I'm done with visiting and desire
To share your bath, sing in your choir.
To run across the hills with you,
And never have to bid adieu.
End my longing and in return,
I will be your golden-haired Song.

Another artist! – No, not never
Could be the God of my heart!
Like Memorial for a Marriage, forever,
Your wit and romance have set you apart;
Your name, rolls smoothly off my tongue
Like Raging Pornographic waves;
Your redemption of Chelsea is unsung,
As is your abstinence from shaves.

Let's whisk away to Reykjavík,
To colonize a trailer or fiord,
Have offspring whose names we'll pick
With extra dots and J's galore.
Your mother and father won’t mind
Your great endurance, will be handy;
I'll play the role of your muse, entwined
So you can still act like a dandy.

So, By the Dishwasher, Take Me Here!
In a polyphony with beer.
My heart awaits for you to turn it
To euphoric art-high with one frame —
If Sorrow conquers happiness, then spurn it,
And let our love be set aflame!

– Elena Soboleva is a Specialist at Artsy, and has had a lengthy affair with time-based art.

Ragnar Kjartansson and The National, Luhring Augustine Bushwick, 25 Knickerbocker Ave. Brooklyn. September 11–December 21, 2014.

Elena Soboleva
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019