Ragnar Kjartansson Wins Performa 11 Malcolm McLaren Award

Mr. Kjartansson won for his 12-hour work “Bliss,” which was performed without a break at the Abrons ArtCenter on the Lower East Side from noon until midnight on Saturday. Commissioned by Performa 11, the piece involved repeated performances of the denouement of Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro,” the moment when the count gets down on one knee and asks his wife for forgiveness, which she grants in an aria. Kristjan Johannson, an Icelandic tenor, played the count, with members of his master class in the other roles.

Roberta Smith of the New York Times wrote, “it seems possible that as ‘Bliss’ continues to unravel, it will expose human kindness as much as human imperfection, and that the key element extended into real time and space by Mr. Kjartansson and his collaborators will be the act of forgiveness conveyed by, but also implicit within, the countess’s few, achingly affecting notes.”

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