The ever-diminishing line between art and commodity is not a new problem; it pervades the history of western art since the renaissance. One thinks of the Medicis’ use of frescoes and other commissions for political gain. However, unlike the Medicis, Frick did not support the most adventurous artists of his day. He was not a patron of new and radical work. He simply bought what was already considered masterful, by artists long dead. All of our great institutions of art walk this line. The Metropolitan and the MoMA were founded and are funded by businessmen not unlike Frick, but at least they had the decency to build a legitimate museum in the public trust, and not a temple to themselves.
It is this aporia between the falseness of representation and the truth it communicates that Fast mines so successfully. Reality has no place in his work. It becomes impossibility. Recognizing that fidelity to the event, through the lens of representation, is absurd, Fast fully embraces that absurdity. We see the actor climbing out of the apparatus that hides his intact body, leaving gory stubs of the victim’s limbs lying abandoned on the set, and leaving us, in turn, with a perfect portrait of the mechanics of storytelling.