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October 14 – December 31 2022

Omer Fast: Karla

As part of Sites during Paris+ by Art Basel, gb agency is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Omer Fast in the Chapelle des Petits-Augustins at the École des Beaux-Arts de Paris.

The works presented (holographic and video installations, sculptures and drawings) enter into dialogue with the casts of the chapel’s sculptures dating from the 16th century; their presence reactivates a more modern memory, that of the 20th century, with its crises and ruptures. An installation of drawings, Untitled M.B. (Cloud), 2020, endlessly replays a self-portrait of Max Beckmann from 1917: copies of copies of copies exhaust the traumatised face of the artist, one eye open and the other closed, revealing the gaping void that the war has left.

In Omer Fast’s own words, both of these works portray individuals who are haunted by the past, which disrupts their lives and leaves them speechless in limbo.This crisis is what the entire collection of works in this show is about, a crisis which for me is very resonant with what Max Beckmann may have experienced following his nervous breakdown. This notion of transmission in a state of crisis became suddenly very palpable to me during the last two years of pandemic. While the virus was spreading and routine life was on hold, I decided to make productive use of my time by giving myself mindless assignments. One of them was making at least one copy of Beckmann’s drawing each night after putting the kids to bed. I think the idea was to keep appearances as a working artist, to keep working when there was no work to do. More associatively, I think it was a way of communicating with the dead, literally communing with Max Beckmann and becoming a host for his ghost, by replicating the marks he left behind on paper, almost like a musician would channel the composer by unthinkingly following each note in a score. Invariably, Max Beckmann would get bored and my hand would stray, leaving something else on the paper which is neither original nor copy. This state of indeterminacy which characterises the show also reverberates in the sculptures. To me, they seem like a strain of parasites, which all share the same master content but which have mutated through the process of copying and transmission into subtly different forms. The sculptures produced daily during the confinement, appear as doubles, mutant forms or parasites. These transformations infest the space, building a parallel narrative that links the works together.

Omer Fast, Untitled, 2020

67 drawings of pencil and pen on paper, euphonium, ceramic toilet, wooden crate.
Variable dimensions


The exhibition is built from stereotypes and archetypes in which masks, ghosts and characters tell stories of the past illuminating the present, or perhaps stories of the present revealing the past, temporal loops between documentary and fiction.

In Karla, 2020 (video) a face, a talking hologram, floats in a room. The real Karla works to filter out offensive images and texts for one of the internet’s giant platforms. How can we view such images today and how are they removed from circulation? Karla’s anonymous testimony is replayed by an actress whose face has been scanned to convert each of her expressions and emotions into digital data. The progressive morphing of her face seems to accompany the fragile construction of her story. Karla, both witness and ghostly presence, tells of her role and her eternal mission to suppress ever more numerous and unbearable images.

Installation view of Karla, 2020. Photo: A. Mole; Chapelle des Petits-Augustins, École des Beaux-Arts de Paris.

Omer Fast, Karla, 2020

Holographic projection and HD video
Duration 34:45 min
Edition 6 (+ 2 A.P.)

The work is made of two parts: the face as an hologram floats in the air while a nearby screen shows the process of recording the narrative.The figure of the ghost is evoked as a liminal being that transgresses and crosses borders, here from the suppressed (the anonymous witness) to the visible (apparition in the night).

The film was commissioned by the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung / Freunde der Pinakothek der Moderne for an exhibition in 2020.


Omer Fast, Cluster #2, 2020

Cherry pits, styrofoam, wood, plasticine
20 x 27 x 43 cm


The Invisible Hand, 2018 (2D Video) is an urban fable set in the People’s Republic of China. A child tells the story of an encounter with a ghost which brings material prosperity to a family but causes ethical and social disruption. The child is both the witness and the heiress to important changes experienced by her family.

Omer Fast, The Invisible Hand, 2018

Video 2D, colour, sound
Duration 12’30’’
Edition 6 (+ 2 A.P.)

Originated from a Jewish medieval fairy-tale, the story itinerates into a contemporary urban fable narrated by an 8-year old Chinese girl, where the invisible hand of a ghost granted the family’s material prosperity but eventually caused an ethical and social breakdown. Her father had freed a ghost from captivity while he was a child.The ghost rewards his family with unexpected riches, but demands the son’s hand when he’s grown up and is about to get married. The family rudely refuses the ghost and is promptly punished: they become prosperous but must compromise something essential to their identities in the process. The results are both tragic and comic.
The script is inspired by the artist’s visit to the Times Museum and its neighborhood in 2017, and metaphorically registers paradoxes of prosperity and loss, truth and lies, freedom and control.

Commissioned by The Times Museum, Guangzhou.


Omer Fast, Cluster #3, 2020

Cherry pits, styrofoam, wood, plasticine
55 x 60 x 65 cm


Whether they delete or make visible on digital platforms, whether they transgress the boundaries of the living and the dead, the characters in all the works, the liminal beings, provoke the systems of power and conventions. Omer Fast fictionalises what he sees of our world, its transformations and aspirations.

Omer Fast, Untitled M.B. (Fisherman), 2020

Styrofoam, cardboard, fimo, wood, plexiglas, glass, cherrie pits, net
Head: 27 x 14 x 22 cm
Overall: 177 x 46 x 48 cm


Omer Fast: Karla was open to the public from October 18 - 23, 2022 at the Chapelle des Petis-Augustins, École des Beaux Arts de Paris as part of Paris+ by Art Basel.