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Gallery Views of Omer Fast: The Casting

June 20-September 5, 2010
The Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation Exhibition Hall

In the last 30 years, artists have explored how newspapers, television, and cinema employ images for evidence but also for seduction, blurring fact and fiction to form a powerfully influential narrative and, in essence, reconstruct reality. The video work of Omer Fast aims to reconnect narratives about recent resonant events to the lived experiences behind them. The interview format is recurrent in his work. Through a uniquely creative editing process, factual sources assume a newly meaningful form in his video installations. Viewers are asked to become aware of their belief systems, of the passage of time as they internalize history, and of the multiple perspectives any communicated experience entails.

The Casting is based on an interview with a U.S. Army sergeant. In the installation, the soldier's recollections provide a unifying soundtrack to tableaux vivants reenacting disparate moments from his experiences while stationed in Europe and then in Iraq. The seamless narration, however, has been spliced together and extended to include the artist's process of auditioning actors for his work. Positioned at the back of the installation, the interview plays the role of "reality" as the more theatrical images are projected at the front. While the narrator's speech remains casual, the tightly rendered tableaux vivants borrow from the stereotypical language of mass media even as the segments represent an ongoing human drama. Partitioned screens in The Casting encourage an open-ended experience of the video, offering a perspective on the Iraqi conflict that takes into account actual lives as opposed to only the political content.

Fast obtained a BA/BFA from Tufts University/School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 1995, and an MFA from Hunter College, CUNY, in 2000.

 

 

Organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art. The Cleveland Museum of Art is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. The Ohio Arts Council helped fund this exhibition with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.