MATRIX 230: Omer Fast

MATRIX 230: Omer Fast

University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)

Omer Fast, Nostalgia (still), 2009. Courtesy of the artist; gb agency, Paris; Postmasters, New York; and Arratia, Beer, Berlin. Photo: Thierry Bal.

October 20, 2009

Omer Fast

October 25 – December 17, 2009

2626 Bancroft Way,
Berkeley CA 94720

BAM/PFA presents Omer Fast’s first West Coast solo exhibition, Omer Fast: Nostalgia, a new commission produced in partnership with the South London Gallery and the Nationalgalerie in Berlin. This three-part video installation carries on Fast’s interest in exploring narrative and filmic constructions, meshing modes of documentary, re-enactment, and dramatization.

Like many of Fast’s works, Nostalgia begins with a personal narrative, as he tracks individual stories in the midst of larger social or historical events—here, immigration and asylum; the war in Iraq, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and the Holocaust in past works. These topics are inherently political, but Fast’s intent is not documentary or didactic, rather to engage with psychological, emotional, and personal experiences against these backdrops.

In the initial interview, the refugee who seeks asylum in Britain speaks briefly of his experiences of war as a child soldier in Nigeria, but in more detail of a trap, simply made of sticks and string, for the purpose of hunting partridges. The second video seems to pick up the interview between Fast and the refugee; the anecdote recurs, but the complexity of the editing and camerawork belies its construction, producing a kind of uncertainty about exactly whom and what we are watching. In the third part, the refugee’s story is spun into a short narrative film, but Fast overtly pulls the tale away from the specificity of the present moment by inverting the racial and national dynamics. And again, the anecdote of the trap recurs, passed from character to character, repurposed by each for their own ends. Fast has said that people are traps for history, and Nostalgia in particular meditates on the ways in which we hold history and how we release it; how experience becomes story, and story becomes experience again through its retelling, and how in the process we author our own identities in relation to the world.

Omer Fast was born in 1972 in Jerusalem and currently lives in New York and Berlin. Fast won the Berlin Nationalgalerie Prize for Young Art in 2009 and the Bucksbaum Award from the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2008. Solo exhibitions include Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel; Lunds Konsthall, Sweden; Kunstverein Hannover; and the Museum of Modern Art, Vienna. This fall his work will be featured in Performa 09 and in a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Fast received his M.F.A. from Hunter College of the City University of New York.

Omer Fast: Nostalgia is curated by Phyllis Wattis MATRIX Curator Elizabeth Thomas.

Nostalgia is coproduced by the South London Gallery; the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive; and the Nationalgalerie at the Hamburger Bahnhof: Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin.

The MATRIX Program at the UC Berkeley Art Museum is made possible by a generous endowment gift from Phyllis C. Wattis.

Additional donors to the MATRIX Program include The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the UAM Council MATRIX Endowment, Jane and Jeffrey Green, Maryellen and Frank Herringer, Wanda Kownacki and John Holton, Charles and Naomie Kremer, Lenore Pereira and Richard Niles, Paul L. Wattis III and Anne Wattis, and other generous supporters.

University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive 

Gallery Hours:
Wednesday to Sunday, 11 to 5.

Closed Monday and Tuesday.

Press contact: 
Ariane N. Bicho

University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

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University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)
October 20, 2009

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