The Power Plant presents a solo exhibition of the work of Berlin-based artist Omer Fast, which includes three significant projects spanning the last decade that reveal his facility with, and critique of, the languages of media, cinema, documentary, and contemporary art.
GUEST CURATED BY MELANIE O’BRIAN
The Power Plant presents a solo exhibition of the work of Berlin-based artist Omer Fast. Fast works primarily with video to examine how individual and collective histories interact. Focusing on narrative structures and constructions, he mixes sound and image into stories that test the line between personal and media accounts of current events and history, particularly a recent history of war. The Power Plant exhibition includes three significant projects spanning the last decade that reveal his facility with, and critique of, the languages of media, cinema, documentary, and contemporary art. In his concern with the strategies of digital manipulation and perception, Fast’s work draws attention to the permeable boundaries between documentary and fiction.
Fast uses strong visual and audio narrativity, from the collage of media footage into new narratives to the layered use of material culled from recorded interviews. In CNN Concatenated (2002), begun in the aftermath of 9/11, Fast edits clips from CNN’s “talking heads” so that each word is spoken by a different newsperson. This anxious new address demonstrates the mutability of information and language. The work asks the viewer to question media authenticity and authority and addresses the audience’s experience of news, particularly the language of fear.
Five Thousand Feet is the Best (2011) relies on montage to disrupt the relationship between a narrative and its interpretation. Told between flashbacks and interviews, the work is based on conversations the artist conducted with a US Predator drone aerial vehicle operator. The drone operator agreed to discuss the technical aspects of his job and his daily routine on camera. Off the record, he briefly described recurring incidents in which the unmanned plane fired at militants and civilians in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the psychological difficulties he experienced as a result. The narratives form a circular plot that returns fitfully to the voice and blurred face of the drone pilot and to his unfinished story.
Continuity (2012) is Fast’s most recent work. Its narrative follows a contemporary middle-aged German couple reuniting with their son, a young soldier just back from service in Afghanistan. What first appears to be an emotional family reunion turns out to be a compulsive ritual enacted by the couple who hire a series of young male escorts to come home with them, spend the night and play their son. The repeated family reunions are contaminated by inexplicable events and the disappearance of each son. Ultimately, the story slips into the uncanny, the oedipal and finally into the zombie genre.
Omer Fast (born 1972, Jerusalem) lives and works in Berlin. He received his BA from Tufts University (1995) and his MFA from Hunter College (2000). He was the recipient of the 2009 Preis der Nationalgalerie für Junge Kunst and the 2008 Bucksbaum Award, among other honours. Fast has had solo exhibitions at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus (2012), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2010), Berkeley Art Museum (2009), Museum of Modern Art, Vienna (2007). His work has also been featured in dOCUMENTA (13) (2012) and numerous biennials and group exhibitions. His work is represented by gb agency, Paris and ARRATIA, BEER, Berlin.