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Erna Ómarsdóttir & Valdimar Jóhannsson / Iceland Dance Company


A ritual mini-festival about art and religion.

“a vibrating Dionysiac celebration of life”  (NRC Handelsblad)

Sacrifice is a four-part mini-festival full of visual art, pop music, theatre and dance about art and religion. The Icelandic artist couple Erna Ómarsdóttir and Valdimar Jóhansson examined the troubled relationship between both and concluded : both art and religion thrive on rituals.

And so they invited four prominent visual artists (Ragnar Kjartansson, Margrét Bjarnadóttir, Gabriela Fridriksdóttir and Matthew Barney!) to work with them and design new rituals, meant for all religions and ethnic backgrounds and built around three important moments in life.

Part one, “No Tomorrow”, is a performance about growing up and the music that is part of it. Expect eight Icelandic ballerinas with as many acoustic guitars in a choreography of Margrét Bjarnadóttir, on a surprising spatial soundtrack by Bryce Dessner (guitar player with The National).

Part two, “Union of the North”, is a film by the famous American artist (and ex of Bjork) Matthew Barney (maker of a.o. The Cremaster Cycle) about one of the oldest rituals in the world : marriage. A film like the wedding of Erna Ólarsdóttir and Valdimar Jóhansson themselves, full of reality TV, music, split screens, with a gigantic inflatable donut for an altar and a shopping centre for church.

Part three “Shrine / Dies Irae” is a stylized worship that completes the cycle of life. In “Shrine”, the performers seek contact with the hereafter in a weird almost diabolic performance with live opera (singer Sofia Jernberg). The video installation “Dies Irae” functions as an extra visual element. 

The visuals are by Gabriela Fridriksdóttir, a.o. well-known for her macabre videoclip for Bjork's “Where Is The Line”.

Ómarsdóttir and Jóhansson conclude the festival interactively with an alternative market full of local convictions, philosophies of life, norms, values and other merchandise. Everything is for sale.

A Dionysia anno 2017. Why ever not ? 

Iceland Dance Company present “Sacrifice”, a collection of new commanding creations exploring the relationship between art and religion. Inspired by the idea of the ritual as an essential part of life, Sacrifice takes over in a celebration of dance, art and music where audiences move from one space to the next, experiencing a different ritual in each place. No Tomorrow, a new creation by performance and visual artist Ragnar Kjartansson and choreographer Margrét Bjarnadóttir, focuses on the idea of youth with a group of dancers with acoustic guitars and music by The National's Bryce Dessner. Union of the North, created by renowned American visual artist Matthew Barney, choreographer Erna Ómarsdóttir and musician Valdimar Jóhannsson is a performative video installation, attempting to fuse together consumerism and the spiritual in an act of marriage. Dias Irae by visual artist Gabriela Friðriksdóttir is part video-installation, part choreographed ritual that focuses on the transition from life to death. Made in collaboration with Ómarsdóttir and Jóhannsson, the video also serves as an inspiration for their choreograpy, Shrine. Finally the festivities reach an immersive peak at the already bustling Market, where people present their beliefs, ideas and solutions for a sustainable future.
IN CO-OPERATION with the Reykjavík City Theatre and LÓKAL Performing Arts Reykjavík COPRODUCED BY Spring Festival Utrecht; Kunstcentrum BUDA, Kortrijk; Tanzhaus Düsseldorf; Reykjavík Dance Festival (apap) SUPPORTED BY Icelandic Ministry of Education, Science and Culture; Kulturkontakt Nord; Nordic Culture Fund; City of Reykjavík; Shalala.

Duration: 240 min

Location: Kortrijk - Budascoop