Postmasters Gallery is pleased to
present an exhibition of two new video installations by Omer Fast. This
will be the artist's first solo show in New York after his work has been
included in the Whitney Biennial 2002 and more recently in numerous European
museum exhibitions (Witte de With in Rotterdam and Frankfurter Kunstverein
A TANK TRANSLATED, 2002
Presented on four monitors, "A Tank Translated," compiles footage of separate conversations with four crew members of an Israeli Army tank. Each crew member (commander, driver, gunner and loader) was interviewed separately after being released from the army and asked about his perception of the environment he was in, both the interior space of the tank which constitutes his unique working environment’ as well as the the environment surrounding the tank.
The conversations were conducted in Hebrew, then edited and translated faithfully with running subtitles.
However, as the English subtitles line the bottom of the screen in the video, the translated text begins to chip away at itself through visible alteration. Although often betraying the soldiers' descriptions and disrupting the reading process, as the new narrative is built, the alterations also attempt to carve out a space in the flow of an interview at the very moment which normally calls for the tacit collaboration of interviewer, interviewee and viewer.
SPIELBERG'S LIST, 2003
"Spielberg's List" is a two channel video work constructed around the experiences of Polish extras that participated in Steven Spielberg's shooting of "Schindler's List". Spielberg shot his film on location in Krakow and its vicinity and used hundreds of local extras for the scenes involving the deportation, the camp, etc. An elaborate concentration camp set was built and never completely dismantled. It has since become a tourist attraction (there are numerous "Schindler's List Tours of Krakow" available and the movie has played a significant part in the revitalization of Kazimierz, the former Jewish Ghetto in Krakow). Fast traveled to Krakow where he located and interviewed Œ'survivors' of "Schindler's List" - both young and old - and asked them to describe their experience and the scenes they were in, often without elaborating on the fact that they're describing a movie. Fast here also uses the standard documentary device of an interview in order to construct a narrative that has as its center a paradox stemming from the passage of memory from private to public trust.
Mixing footage from the Plaszow camp set and from its neighboring Plaszow camp ground, from interviews with extras who participated in the film and in some cases experienced the events it depicts in their own lives, as well as segments from the “Schindler's List" tours, Fast creates a layered work in which the idea of memory and what is real is both expanded and put under considerable duress when filmed entertainment turns (in)to history