press release

The Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) will present New Pictures: Omer Fast, Appendix,marking the U.S. public debut of Omer Fast’s film August (2016), which Mia has acquired. The exhibition explores how the Berlin-based artist creates complex, nuanced stories in response to political crisis and personal loss. The exhibition features August—a para-fictional interpretation of the life of German photographer August Sander (1876–1964), shot in 3D—as well as the 2008 single-channel film installation Looking Pretty for God (After G.W.). Also included are 27 portrait photographs by Sander from his celebrated series "People of the Twentieth Century," many of which come from Mia’s permanent collection.

The exhibition is organized by Yasufumi Nakamori, Mia’s Curator and Head of Photography and New Media, and is the latest in Mia’s “New Pictures” series, which showcases artists who push the boundaries of photography and time-based media art and respond to Mia’s encyclopedic and global art collection.

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 filmmaking, portrays Sander at the end of his life, reflects on Sander’s portraits—including Young Farmers (1914) and Bricklayer (1928)—and evokes his career during the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany.

Sander is known for his portrait series People of the Twentieth Century, in which he sought to document a cross-section of the then-changing and diverse German population. This project was suppressed by the Nazis, who destroyed the printing plates of his book of portraits Face of Our Time (1929), preventing Sander from producing additional copies. Fast’s August therefore blends fact and fiction to question photography’s ability to capture truth and resist oppression.

August will be 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 actual funeral directors and morticians—Fast draws connections between fashion photography and the mortuary industry by emphasizing their involvement in the construction of images.

Providing further context for New Pictures: Omer Fast, Appendix, Mia has organized the exhibition Seeking a Truth: German Art of the 1920s and 1930s, featuring 40 objects created contemporaneously to Sander’s photographs. The exhibition, drawn mostly from Mia’s permanent collection, includes works by Max Beckmann, Albert Birkle, Karl Blossfeldt, Otto Dix, George Grosz, John Heartfield, Käthe Kollwitz, László Moholy-Nagy, Albert Renger-Patzsch, and Lotte Stam-Beese.

Born in Jerusalem in 1972, Omer Fast grew up between Israel and New York. He received a B.F.A. from Tufts University and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 1995, and an M.F.A. from Hunter College in New York City in 2000. In 2015, a monographic exhibition of Fast’s work opened at the Jeu de Paume Paris, which traveled to the Baltic Center of Contemporary Arts, Gateshead, and the KUNSTEN Museum of Modern Art Aalborg in 2016. His work has been featured in dOCUMENTA (13), the 54th Venice Biennale, and the 2002 and 2008 Whitney Biennials. Fast has also had solo exhibitions at institutions including La Caixa, Barcelona; Museum of Contemporary Art, Krakow; Wexner Center of Art, Columbus; and most recently Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin. He lives and works in Berlin.