Looking Pretty For God (After G.W), 2008
Exhibition view, Talking is not always the solution, Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin, 2016-2017
Single channel, HD video, color, sound (English speaking) Duration 27 min, looped
Edition of 6 (+ 2 A.P.)
Commissioned by Manifesta 7 and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Omer Fast’s single-channel projection appears to focus on the technical aspects of a mortician’s job.
Looking Pretty for God derives from conversations with morticians.
As those responsible for a deceased person’s last public appearance, morticians work somewhere between makeup artistry, plastic surgery, sculpture, deception, public relations and magic.Their profession is also emblematic of the modern segregation of work, the worker, and how the resulting product is subsequently displayed and consumed.
With his own work, Omer Fast asks what is gained or lost in the process of displacing a body from the professional’s gaze to public view, from the work area to the stage, from being just dead to being the life of the party. Their words are accompanied by still shots taken inside funeral homes alternating with commercial photo shoots in which children appear.
Combining footage from a fictional photo shoot of children and interior shots of funeral homes with off- camera interviews with funeral directors, Fast manages to relate two very distinct industries—mortuary services and fashion photography—emphasizing their involvement in the construction and artifice of images. Using cinematic tools like tracking shots and editing to the fullest, Fast has created a new narrative that compels viewers to contemplate the cycle of life.