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Artist Omer Fast's 3D film 'August' makes U.S. public debut at the Minneapolis Institute of Art
Omer Fast, August (film still), 2016. Stereoscopic film in 3D, 5.1 surround sound; 15:30 minutes The Christina N. and Swan J. Turnblad Memorial Fund Image courtesy of the artist and gb agency, Arratia Beer and Dvir Gallery and James Cohan Gallery Omer Fast, 2016.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN.- This fall, the Minneapolis Institute of Art presents 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 also includes 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 is 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.

Related exhibition
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 features 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—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, Kthe Kollwitz, Lszl Moholy-Nagy, and Albert Renger-Patzsch are also being shown.

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