Olaf Breuning

Olaf Breuning

Home 3

08 June–27 July 201308 Jun–27 Jul 2013

We showed Olaf Breuning’s videos Home (2005) in 2006 and Home 2 (2007) last year. Now our audiences can complete the trilogy with Home 3: Homage to New York (2012). In all three half-hour videos, we are guided by an anonymous buffoon, played by Breuning’s actor pal (some say alter-ego) Brian Kerstetter. Alternately bipolar, delusional, egomaniacal, and clownish, Kerstetter has a penchant for face paint, fancy dress, masks, reptilian contact lenses, and politically-incorrect behaviour.

In Home, Kerstetter holed up in a room in the famous Madonna Inn, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and reimagined his life as a collage of film references and anecdotes. His fantasies took him to far-flung locations, such as Machu Picchu and the fake Venice in Las Vegas. In Home 2, he continued his global odyssey, visiting Japan, Papua New Guinea, Switzerland, and Ghana. In Ghana, he threw money–and the shirt off his back—to boys living on a rubbish tip, while railing against materialism. In New Guinea, he mocked the entertaining mud men. Everywhere, he patronised the natives, while claiming to identify.

In Home 3, the chickens come home to roost, as Kerstetter guides us through his hometown (and Breuning’s adopted city) of New York. Visiting sites like Times Square, a wax museum, and Coney Island, Kerstetter tries to impress us (and everyone he meets) with his factoids, specious insights, witticisms, and pranks. He patrols fancy dining haunts, donning an Angry Bird costume to devour a steak at Balthazar. He enjoys a lapdance with two blonde girl strippers in a Hummer stretch limo, while a belligerent midget male stripper tries to join in. He crashes a hip-hop party, cheats in the New York Marathon, and smokes dope in Central Park. As in previous installments, the travelogue is improvised Borat-style, with Kerstetter interacting with real-life bystanders—happily harassing a Buddhist monk, a taxi driver, sunbathers, Apple Store employees, and a bearded protestor who resembles Fidel Castro. The cringe humour aside, Breuning’s Home trilogy is deeply melancholic. Kerstetter’s character exudes a sense of profound alienation before everyone he wants to connect with, including the viewer. It’s terribly funny, and terribly unfunny. Home 3 was produced with a grant from Métamatic Research Initiative, Amsterdam.

The Institute of Modern Art acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land upon which the IMA now stands, the Jagera, Yuggera, Yugarapul, and Turrbal people. We offer our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the first artists of this country. In the spirit of allyship, the IMA will continue to work with First Nations people to celebrate, support, and present their immense past, present, and future contribution to artistic practice and cultural expression.