As if We Existed

Film (30 min)
Shot on 16mm film and converted to HD video

Following the catastrophic crash of the Icelandic economy a young painter flees to Venice in order to get peace to work on his art. In a studio the same task awaits him every day: to paint a portrait of a beautiful male model. When one painting is finished they start the next one. While the Icelandic public takes to the streets, revolting against the government, the works pile up in the artist studio by the canal, time passes and the city continues to sink. The repetition and the circumstances increasingly take their toll when isolation, claustrophobia and paranoia set in. In a city that is like a stage set in itself, the boundaries that may have been clear in the beginning get fuzzy. What is life and what is art? The partners can no longer recall why they set out on this journey or if – and then when – it will come to an end. Whose image is it that appears on the canvas every day?

The film is a portrait of an art piece by Ragnar Kjartansson who represented Iceland at the 53rd International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale in 2009. Ragnar's piece, The End, was a six month long performance of a painter painting one portrait a day of a young man in a speedo. The film tells the story of those two characters, as if they existed, blurring the boundaries between fact and fiction, life and art, now and then.

The film is directed by Ragnheidur Gestsdottir and produced by LoFi Productions.