Ali Kazma
    • “dexterity of mind/hand/eye
      creates highly refined finished products”


      Born in 1971 in Istanbul, Ali Kazma graduated from Robert College in 1989. In 1993, he completed his undergraduate studies in the United States. After briefly studying photography in London, in 1995 he returned to the United States to study film. He received his MA from the The New School in New York City where he worked between 1995 and 1998 as a teaching assistant. In 2000 he returned to Istanbul, opened a film production company, and between 2001 and 2003 taught part time at Bilgi University. After settling in Istanbul, he has produced not only art films, but also commercial products and a full-length documentary. Among others, he has exhibited his work in 7th International Istanbul Biennial (2001), Tokyo Opera City (2001), Platform Garanti Center for Contemporary Art (Istanbul, 2003), Cetinje Biennial (2004), Istanbul Modern (2004), 2nd Istanbul Pedestrian Exhibition (2005), 9th Havana Biennial (Cuba, 2006), San Francisco Art Institute (2006), 10th International Istanbul Biennial (2007), and has opened a solo exhibition at the Francesca Minini Via Massimiano (Italy, 2008). Presently, three of his videos are being shown on Istiklal Caddesi, Beyoglu, in a group show, “Oditoryumda Sanat” sponsored by the Vehbi Koc Foundation.

      During the 10th International Istanbul Biennial, Kazma presented an installation consisting of four videos, Ceramist Studio (2007), Clock Master (2006), Brain Surgeon (2006), and Slaughterhouse (2007), projected simultaneously side by side in the bottom floor of IMC. Unlike most of the other video work shown in IMC as a part of the “World Factory”, Kazma’s videos were optimistic. In contrast to many of the other films shown, he did not choose work places using informal labor. He did not show exploitation or poor working conditions.

      At the “Oditoryumda Sanat” exhibition he is exhibiting again Brain Surgeon (2006) and Slaughterhouse (2007) while showing Jean Factory (2008) for the first time in Istanbul. Jean Factory emphasizes the detail and craftsmanship used to produce the seemingly simple jean hanging in shops around the world. Every crease, every wrinkle, every gradation of color is highly thought out and calculated. In his seemingly obsessive exploration of contemporary human production and activity, he also made Rolling Mills (2007), showing a steel factory and Household Goods Factory (2008), a film about a factory in Italy owned by Alessi . This series of films cannot be seen as documentary and socioeconomic issues surface only indirectly. The films consist of a series of close-ups, fragments, and glances at sophisticated use of skills. While highly sophisticated technology is present, the skilled hand is still important. In his videos, the gruesome becomes beautiful and the mundane becomes complicated. While viewing highly skilled workers in different contemporary environments, we are reminded of the subtle aesthetic and technical skills required to produce a contemporary high quality work of art. All require dexterity of mind/hand/eye, and ability for cutting/sewing/reshaping, to make a highly refined finished product, a masterpiece. All the places and activities chosen share almost allusive similarities even though they are totally unique.

      Marcus Graf, Volkan Aslan, and Nancy Atakan are pleased to have Ali Kazma as a guest on April 12 at 2:00 p.m. at 5533. We find it significant for him to return to IMC and make a presentation about his artistic viewpoint, discuss his artistic practice, and explain the direction his most recent work is taking.

      Nancy Atakan
      April, 2008