August 3, 2017, MINNEAPOLIS—This fall, the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) will present the exhibition “New Pictures: Omer Fast, Appendix,” marking the U.S. public debut of Omer Fast’s film August (2016), which Mia has recently acquired. On view from September 23, 2017, through February 18, 2018, the exhibition explores how the Berlin-based artist and filmmaker creates complex, nuanced stories in response to political crisis and personal loss across time. The exhibition features August—a para-fictional interpretation of the life of German photographer August Sander (1876–1964), which was shot in 3D—as well as the 2008 single-channel film installation Looking Pretty for God (After G.W.). The exhibition will also include more than 20 portrait photographs by Sander from his celebrated series People of the Twentieth Century, many of which have been selected from Mia’s permanent collection. Fast’s first solo presentation in the Twin Cities since 2005, the exhibition is the latest installment of Mia’s “New Pictures” series, which showcases artists who are pushing the boundaries of photography and new media art.
“Omer Fast’s films prompt the viewer to reexamine reality and fiction, memory, history, and desire,” said Yasufumi Nakamori, Mia’s Curator and Head of Photography and New Media, who organized the exhibition. “Fast’s new work is particularly resonant today, when it seems anyone can editorialize and expound on news and current events, manipulating the divide between fact and opinion, and where diversity of our society is undermined.”
Tracing the psychology of trauma caused by geopolitical conflict, Fast’s work blurs the line between personal memory and the retelling of actual events through cinematic techniques and complex narrative structures, and it explores the ways in which stories, and consequently history and identity, are formed. August, Fast’s first foray into 3D technology, portrays Sander at the end of his life, reflects on Sander’s portraits—including Young Farmers (1914) and Bricklayer (1928)—and evokes his storied career during the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany.
Sander is best known for his portrait series titled People of the Twentieth Century, in which he sought to systematically document a thorough cross-section of the then-changing and diverse German population. Consequently, this project was suppressed by the Nazis, who destroyed the printing block of his book of portraits Face of Our Time (1929), preventing Sander from printing additional copies. Fast’s August therefore blends fact and fiction to subvert the boundary between collective history and personal memory, ultimately questioning photography’s ability to capture truth and resist oppression.
August will be joined by Fast’s Looking Pretty for God (After G.W.)(2008), which also examines the end of life and photography’s role in it. Combining footage from a fictional children’s fashion photo shoot and interior shots of funeral homes—including interviews with funeral directors and morticians—Fast draws connections between fashion photography and the mortuary industry by emphasizing their involvement in the construction of images. Employing cinematic techniques and melding documentary and fictional sources, Fast has created a nuanced and complex narrative contemplating the cycle of human life.
Providing further context for “New Pictures: Omer Fast, Appendix,” Mia has organized the special exhibition “Seeking a Truth: German Art of the 1920s and 1930s,” which will feature more than 35 objects created contemporaneously to Sander’s People of the Twentieth Century. Dating between World War I and World War II, these objects—drawn from Mia’s vast collections, as well as Al and Ingrid Lenz Harrison’s collection of German art—will include Max Beckmann’s prints Jahrmarkt (1921), Lotte Stam-Beese’s photograph Albert Braun with Mirror (1928), Albert Birkle’s painting The Telegraph Operator (1927), and John Heartfield’s photomontages from select issues of Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung. Works by artists Karl Blossfeldt, Otto Dix, George Grosz, Käthe Kollwitz, László Moholy-Nagy, and Albert Renger-Patzsch will also be shown.
Programming related to “New Pictures: Omer Fast, Appendix” includes a talk by Omer Fast on Saturday, September 23, 2017, at 2 p.m. in Mia’s Pillsbury Auditorium. To reserve tickets, please call 612.870.3000 or purchase online.
Mia is also partnering with the Walker Art Center to present two of Fast’s feature-length films for Filmmaker in Conversation:
· Thursday, September 14, 7:30 p.m.: Screening of Remainder with introductions by Yasufumi Nakamori, Mia’s Curator and Head of Photography and New Media, and Sheryl Mousley, Walker’s Senior Curator of Moving Image. Free.
· Sunday, September 24, 2 p.m.: Screening of Continuity with post-screening discussion between Omer Fast and Sheryl Mousley. $10 ($8 Walker members, students, and seniors)
Both screenings take place at the Walker Art Center. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.
About Omer Fast
Omer Fast was born in Jerusalem in 1972 and grew up between Israel and New York. He received a B.F.A. from Tufts University and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 1995, and an M.F.A. from Hunter College in New York City in 2000. In October 2015, a monographic exhibition of Fast’s work opened at the Jeu de Paume Paris and traveled to the Baltic Center of Contemporary Arts, Gateshead, and the KUNSTEN Museum of Modern Art Aalborg in 2016. His work has been featured in dOCUMENTA (13), the 54th Venice Biennale, and the 2002 and 2008 Whitney Biennials. In addition, he has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis; the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Le Caixa, Barcelona; Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montréal; Museum of Contemporary Art, Krakow; Dallas Museum of Art, Texas; Wexner Center of Art, Columbus; and, most recently, at Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin. Fast's work is held in the permanent collections of numerous New York City institutions, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art; as well as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Tate Modern, London; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Fast lives and works in Berlin.