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Ali Kazma: Safe, (film still), 2016 Full Hd Video 3:18 Min. © Courtesy of the Artist and Galerie Akinci

Lijnbaansgracht 317
1017 WZ Amsterdam
January 28th, 2017 - March 11th, 2017
Opening: January 28th, 2017 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Museum Area
+31 (0) 20 638 0480
Tue-Sat 1-6


“I am concerned about the tipping point between the source and the representation,” says Ali Kazma. In a world saturated with images, the video artist is well aware of his medium and constantly seeks that sliver of space between realistic imagery and imagined reality. “Oversaturation,” he says, “this for me is what is unethical. (…) The artworks that are important for me are the works that add to the enigma and the complexity of the world. If they cannot add to it, then at least they accompany it and create a space for us to talk about it.”

Without being documentaries, or naturalistic reports, Ali Kazma’s films involve a violent relation to reality. The political dimension is never openly brought in, but it can be deduced from the choice and exposition of the images. By preferring close-ups and finished gestures, fragmented, staccato spaces—instead of developing broad, meditative shots—(…) he lends his images, as they run past us, a vibrating density and a heightened power. (Mo Gourmelon in ‘Obstructions: Tense, dense, and well-paced films’, 2009.)

AKINCI is proud to present six of Ali Kazma’s films, amongst which the appraised video works ‘Home’ and ‘Clerk’, and a selection from his Obstruction series including ‘Tattoo’ – first exhibited at the Turkish Pavilion during the 55th Venice Biennale. We are especially excited to première Kazma’s new film ‘Safe’, depicting the Global Seed Vault situated in the Svalbard Islands, which is designed to serve as a back-up repository for seeds in case of local or global man-made and/or natural catastrophe. The suspense in ‘Safe’ is so dense it is close to physically stifling. Indeed, to look at Kazma’s films is to become fixated in a gaze that feels, almost compulsory, like touching with your eyes. This physical sensation is consequential of Kazma’s close apprehension of the human body and its activity. Through his framing and montage he captures both the physical and philosophical dimension of the condition humaine; in labour, economy, production, social organisation, and time.


Born in 1971, Istanbul, Ali Kazma completed his undergraduate studies in the United States in 1993. After briefly studying photography in London, he returned to the US to study film in 1995. He received his MA from The New School University in New York City where he worked as a teaching assistant. Ali Kazma was granted the 2001 UNESCO Award for the Promotion of the Arts and received the 2010 Nam June Paik Award for his ‘Obstructions’ series, which he has been working on since 2005. Kazma’s video works question and explore the different rhythms and states of human existence and its relationship to contemporary conditions. His consistent oeuvre has received international esteem. His video installations and films have been exhibited in institutions, festivals and biennales across the world, including the Istanbul Biennial, Sao Paulo Biennale, Tokyo Opera City, San Fransisco Art Institute, Istanbul Modern, Havana Biennial, Lyon Biennial, ARTER Istanbul, Hirshhorn Museum, and the 55th Venice Biennale, Pavilion of Turkey. In 2017, he will exhibit his work at the Jeu de Paume in Paris. Kazma has been living in Istanbul since 2000.

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