March 25–May 7, 2016
Opening: Friday, March 25, 6–8pm
533 West 26 St
New York, NY 10001
T 1 212 714 9500
James Cohan is pleased to announce an exhibition by Omer Fast featuring the New York premiere of three recent films, 5,000 Feet is the Best (2011), Continuity (2012), and Spring (2016). The exhibition, the artist’s first at James Cohan, will be on view from March 25 through May 7 at the gallery’s Chelsea location.
In his work as a filmmaker, Omer Fast defines a new relationship between reality and fiction. He is interested in exploring the construction of narratives, in particular how stories change when told from different perspectives. The works in the exhibition each examine the shifting boundaries of modern conflict through the personal stories of those involved. Fast borrows from traditions of documentary, dramatization and fantasy, manipulating time through the use of repetition, looping, and reenactment to create new and complex structures. All three works use human emotions as stand-ins for the larger socio-political reality of contemporary warfare.
The protagonist in 5,000 Feet is the Best is a Predator drone operator who for six years engaged with militants and civilians in Afghanistan from a US base in suburban Nevada. The film is based on two meetings recorded in a hotel in Las Vegas in September 2010, where the drone operator shared the technical aspects of his job with Fast as well as the psychological difficulties he has experienced as a result of his work.
Continuity is a film about loss and mourning. The central protagonist is a young German soldier named Daniel, returning home after serving in Afghanistan. A familiar domestic environment with emotional parents soon mutates to a series of theatrical scenes that gradually become perverse and uncanny. Daniel struggles to make sense of his increasingly alien home until his history, and ultimately that of his parents, becomes more and more tenuous.
In his most recent work, Spring, Fast returns and expands upon the narrative and relationships he created in Continuity. The story revolves around a teenage boy and an older male escort who are both engaged by the couple, Daniel’s parents, and whose paths cross violently on the streets of a wealthy German suburb. A portrait of family life in which roles are constantly shifting, Spring touches on issues of loss and recovery, drug addiction, small-town crime, and the portrayal of masculinity in an increasingly global economy.
Omer Fast was born in Jerusalem in 1972 and grew up between Israel and New York. He received a BFA from Tufts University and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1995, and an MFA from Hunter College in New York City in 2000. In October 2015, a monographic exhibition of Fast’s work opened at the Jeu de Paume, Paris; and will travel to the Baltic Center of Contemporary Arts, Gateshead, UK; and the KUNSTEN Museum of Modern Art, Aalborg, Denmark. His work has also been featured in dOCUMENTA (13), the 54th Venice Biennale, and the 2002 and 2008 Whitney Biennials. He has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Le Caixa, Madrid; Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montréal; Museum of Contemporary Art, Krakow, Poland; Dallas Museum of Art; Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; and at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Fast’s work has been acquired by numerous institutions, including the Tate Modern, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Whitney Museum of American Art, Guggenheim Museum of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Dallas Museum of Art; Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He lives and works in Berlin, Germany.