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Ali Kazma, Prison @ Analix Forever Genève

janvier 20, 2014

resistance video still 09
Ali Kazma, Prison (Resistance serie), 2013
courtesy of the artist and Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts


Opening Tuesday January 28 2014, 6pm
Exhibition : January 29 – February 24, 2014
Galerie Analix Forever
2 Rue de Hesse – 1204 Genève

The show « Prison » by Ali Kazma finds its place within one of the long-lasting concerns of the Analix Forever gallery, i.e., confinement in the broadest sense, from the body as a jail to the jail itself.

The video Prison will be the unique work presented in the eponymous exhibition. It was shown before at the Venice Biennale last summer, within a series of videos encompassing the theme of the body and named « Resistance » by Ali Kazma together with the curator of the Turkish Pavilion Emre Baykal. It is the first time that a video of the series « Resistance » is shown to the public after the Venice Biennale.

« Resistance » is a « work in progress »: fifteen videos have been already produced, all of them on the theme of the body, of which thirteen were shown in the Turkish Pavilion in Venice. The body is understood by the artist as the ultimate bastion for preserving one’s individuality in the struggle against power and uniformity, sometimes at the expense of entering social subgroups using specific practices (such as body-builders), bodily alterations that work as signs (tattoos or scars ) or certain rituals.

Prison was filmed in Turkey, some two hundred kilometers east of Istanbul, on a snowy day. Ali Kazma decided early on not to shoot inmates, but rather to show the prison architecture as the main constraint imposed onto the body. The artist describes the prison as « a shell of the body », a complex structure designed to restrict the movement of the body, to restrict light and even imagination: the strongest model for all forms of limitations of the body.

Foucault in Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, in the chapter Docile bodies, referring to the organization of the prison, talks about « political anatomy », which corresponds, according to him, to the mechanics of power, « a policy of coercions that are working on the body, a calculated manipulation of its elements, its gestures, its behavior. The human body enters a machinery of power that searches, disarticulates and recomposes it… Discipline thus manufactures submissive and exerted bodies: the docile bodies. »

For Ali Kazma – as for Michel Foucault – the prison is primarily an instrument of power, power over the body. In Prison, this power is signified by the very absence of the body. The artist met the staff and some of the inmates, but chose not to shoot them, in agreement with the general position of rigor he claims: the aim of the artist, here, is to film the physical structure – whether prison, school or hospital – that can potentially dominate and encapsulate anyone who enters them. Visually speaking, the silent snow tempest covering this place which is both central to the social organization of the world while ignored, may be even forgotten by it, highlights the tremendous power of the requisition of the body and in the custody by others, the isolation of that body and, ultimately, its death.

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