This fall, the Minneapolis Institute of Art
presents the exhibition New Pictures: Omer Fast, Appendix, marking the U.S. public debut of Omer Fasts 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 Augusta para-fictional interpretation of the life of German photographer August Sander (18761964), which was shot in 3Das 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 Mias permanent collection. Fasts first solo presentation in the Twin Cities since 2005, the exhibition is the latest installment of Mias New Pictures series, which showcases artists who are pushing the boundaries of photography and new media art.
Omer Fasts films prompt the viewer to reexamine reality and fiction, memory, history, and desire, said Yasufumi Nakamori, Mias Curator and Head of Photography and New Media, who organized the exhibition. Fasts 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, Fasts 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, Fasts first foray into 3D technology, portrays Sander at the end of his life, reflects on Sanders portraitsincluding 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. Fasts August therefore blends fact and fiction to subvert the boundary between collective history and personal memory, ultimately questioning photographys ability to capture truth and resist oppression.
August is joined by Fasts Looking Pretty for God (After G.W.)(2008), which also examines the end of life and photographys role in it. Combining footage from a fictional childrens fashion photo shoot and interior shots of funeral homesincluding interviews with funeral directors and morticiansFast 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 features more than 35 objects created contemporaneously to Sanders People of the Twentieth Century. Dating between World War I and World War II, these objectsdrawn from Mias vast collections, as well as Al and Ingrid Lenz Harrisons collection of German artinclude Max Beckmanns prints Jahrmarkt (1921), Lotte Stam-Beeses photograph Albert Braun with Mirror (1928), Albert Birkles painting The Telegraph Operator (1927), and John Heartfields 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 are also being shown.