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Omer Fast: Nostalgia / MATRIX 230

October 25, 2009 - December 17, 2009

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

Download the exhibition brochure (PDF).

Omer Fast’s video works conflate factual and fictional narratives at the intersection of memory, history, and media. His varied subjects have included the Iraq War, Colonial reenactment, and the film Schindler’s List. The Casting (2007) employs two dual projections to create a complex relationship between the recollections of an American soldier fighting in Iraq (interviewed by the artist) and still-life reenactments of his story. The reality of the interview is subverted as we realize it is actually an audition, folding the layers of representation back upon themselves.

Fast’s new commission for MATRIX comprises two films that work together to break open the uncanny relationship among internal imagination, external reality, and the images we consume through media and popular culture. Fast again uses a metafilmic construction to tie together multiple narratives and comment on the mediation of images. In one film, the filmmaker interviews a Nigerian refugee seeking asylum in London about his experiences as a child soldier. The other adapts fragments of this story as stylized science fiction, the asylum-seeking process imagined as a bizarre dystopian system of processing and competition.

Omer Fast has exhibited most recently at ZKM, Karlsruhe; Liverpool Biennial 2008; Manifesta 7; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; and the 2008 Whitney Biennial, at which he received the Bucksbaum Award. This is Fast’s first West Coast solo exhibition.

Elizabeth Thomas
Phyllis Wattis MATRIX Curator

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 supported by a generous endowment gift from Phyllis C. Wattis; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; and the continued support of the BAM/PFA Trustees.