The Omer Fast theory: “Everything that rises must converge” to sex

Stefano Pirovano

Here is how Omer Fast wrote a seminal chapter in the relation between art and sexuality, by talking about solitude and human beings need to escape it.

Omer Fast surely knows that a strong motivation is always requested when expressive tools such as sex and violence are used, and this motivation has to be even stronger when they are processed with realism. For example, extremely realistic violence could be acceptable if to express the cruelty of a war, like in Krubrick’s Full Metal Jacket or Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan. But it is certainly questionable if realistic violence is used just to impress the audience, like in Tarantino’s recent Django’s Unchained. Realism is fine in a Nan Goldin’s pic, because she is personally involved in the environment she is shooting at. But it is an abuse in Boris Mikhailov’s images of lost Russian teens sniffing lighter gas for his pictures are printed in a large scale format, hung at gallery walls and eventually sold to collectors as artworks. It is the same when sex is concerned. For instance, the use of hyper realistic scene of sex and violence is fine in a movie like “Irreversible” (Caspar Noé, 2002) because it aims to alert people about a certain kind of risk.

It was with this mind-set that we went to see the last porn-based work by talented artist Omer Fast at Gb Agency gallery in Paris.

Omer Fast
Omer Fast, Everything that rises must converge, 2013, video frame.

As clearly reported by the effective exhibition text available at the gallery, “Everything that rises must converge” is a digital film installation made up of four simultaneous synchronised projections portraying 24 hours in the life of four adult film actors living in Los Angeles, two guys and two women. They wake up, get ready for the day ahead, and then meet each other at a porn factory to act together in the same movie. Once finished, they go back, like ordinary people, to their homes. Other characters are involved, too. A Latin-American mysterious girl reading in a recording studio, in the presence of the artist himself, a text about a girl raped by the truck driver who was driving her from US to Mexico. A veteran adult film director and producer who is interviewed by the artist about his career. The wife of coloured man sitting in his boxers on a bed at the same factory. She calls him up reporting that she has just seen two guys unearthing a big dinosaurs egg from their garden.

omer fast
Omer Fast, Everything that rises must converge, video still

“Stories overlap, images harmonise, sentences match up, and every element converges at any given moment” continues cleverly the exhibition unsigned text, that also notes that Omer Fast is freely inspired by the Flannery O’Connor short story from which the title is borrowed. But what really justifies this uncensored use of porn is neither the references (to O’Connor and to a poetry by Rainer Maria Rilke, that appears in the text read by the girl in the recording studio), nor Omer Fast’s works typical ambiguity between reality and fiction (porn actors and their lives are real, but the role of the director is played by an actor, as well as the role of the artist). The good motivation we have found for the use of the “porn tool”, and the reason why we suggest the show, lie in the message we grasped, which is about solitude and human beings primitive need to escape it.

Omer Fast
Omer Fast, Everything that rises must converge, 2013, installation view at GB Agency

January 16, 2020