Ragnar Kjartansson was born in 1976 in Reykjavík, where he still lives and works. He studied at the Iceland Academy of the Arts in Reykjavik and at the Royal Academy in Stockholm.
He has taken part in many exhibitions and festivals, including Manifesta and La Triennale di Torino in 2008. In 2009 he became the youngest artist to represent Iceland at the Venice Biennale. In 2011 the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, the Museum of Contemporary Art (North Miami), and the ICA Boston put on his solo Song exhibition, and the Frankfurter Kunstverein showed his first sweeping retrospective in Europe. In 2012 a solo exhibition of his works was put on at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin. He was invited to the 55th Venice Biennale, in the exhibition curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Il Palazzo Enciclopedico, in which, for the entire duration of the show, he put on a captivating musical performance in the aquatic spaces of the Gaggiandre of the Arsenale.