January 18, 2009 - Kunsthaus Baselland - Omer Fast and Raphael Danke
January 18, 2009

Omer Fast and Raphael Danke

Omer Fast
Take a Deep Breath, 2008
Videostill: Yon Thomas
Courtesy gb agency, Paris; Postmasters, New York; Arratia Beer, Berlin

Omer Fast - Recent Works
Raphael Danke - Filer à l’Anglaise 
15 January – 22 March 2009


Kunsthaus Baselland
St. Jakob-Strasse 170
CH-4132 Muttenz/Basle
T: +41 61 312 83 88


Omer Fast (born 1972 in Jerusalem) is one of the outstanding film and video artists of recent years. In his single and multi-channel projections, the artist addresses the transformation of experiences into memories and stories. He undermines the logic of linear narrative and studies how stories become stories and to what transformation processes they are subjected during their gestation.

Kunsthaus Baselland present Omer Fast’s first institutional solo exhibition in Switzerland and deliberately put the focus on his most recent film projects from the last two years: De Grote Boodschap (2007), Looking Pretty for God (2008) and Take a Deep Breath (2008).

The two-channel video installation Take a Deep Breath (2008) is reminiscent of Hollywood film productions in aesthetic and narrative terms. The story occurs on a set where an eyewitness testimonial of a suicide attack is to be restaged. The story is told by the physician Martin F., who heard the noise of an explosion on his way to his favourite falafel place. He immediately went to the explosion site to see if he could provide medical help. He found a man there who had lost both legs and an arm and administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to him. When this attempt fails and he leaves the site, it quickly becomes obvious that the doctor had tried to save the suicide bomber, which confronts him with a moral dilemma. The individual narrative strand – the eyewitness report as such, the material filmed on the set and the events during the shooting of the film – are superimposed on each other in a whirlwind of stories about the story up to a point where it becomes virtually impossible to distinguish between reality, documentary and interpretation. The process of film-making itself and, thus, the fabrication and perception of fiction are the real subject of the machinery of illusion: Omer Fast explores what happens when the levels of that which is real and that which is realistic become entangled to the point of indistinguishability.

Raphael Danke (born 1972 in Aachen) is presenting his first institutional solo exhibition at Kunsthaus Baselland. After studying at the Berlin Academy of Arts, Danke became known initially for his collaborative work with his brother Tobias Danke. Since 2005/06, he has been working exclusively on his own and has earned himself quite a reputation through solo exhibitions at up-and-coming galleries.

The title of the exhibition, which includes collages, sculptures and installations, is “Filer à l’anglaise” – a French expression equivalent to the English “to take French leave”, i.e. to slip away without saying thanks or goodbye. Danke’s special collage technique relates aptly to the concept of disappearance. The fashion business, which has often been described as an industry engaged in the production of distorted body images, and its primary publicity vehicle, the fashion magazine, supply the raw material for the artist’s genuine, material manipulation of bodies: he removes the bodies from the pages and rearranges the remaining coloured segments in new and complex patterns. The resulting compositions often have a surreal touch – the fall of a dress, fragments of hairstyles and accessories peeking out from between the severed edges, and new patterns of shape and colour emerging from the freshly-cut lines. Only the titles point to what has disappeared – taking maybe French (or English) leave.

Moreover, each collage has its own passepartout format, resulting from the difference in size between the original picture and the newly assembled composition. This somehow preserves the parts that have been removed (the human figures) as the proportional reduction in size creates a reference to what is missing.

Kunsthaus Baselland
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