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Ali Kazma, from Jeu de Paume to Video Street Art, from ESTE ARTE to ArtPress

janvier 9, 2018

For ESTE ARTE 2018Analix Forever proposes a video project based on the concept of space, the video screen by itself being a specific space, a specific environment where artist Ali Kazma unfolds his own vision of space. One of his latest video (Mine, 2017), produced by Jeu de Paume, traces a historic and political line. Shot in the Atacama Desert, Chile, the work presents the ruins of a nitrate mine that ceased to function in the late 1930s and, in the 1970s, became a concentration camp for workers, lawyers, artists and writers under the Pinochet regime. With Safe (2015), shot in the Svalbard Islands, close to the North Pole, Kazma explores space in a more territorial sense. A rectangular concrete construction protrudes out of the immaculate, windy, snow-covered mountain. Moving from this environment to the inner spaces of the building, the frozen inner walls, shelves and metallic labelled boxes are all elements that give a small insight into the building’s purpose: the preservation of hundreds of thousands of species of seeds. Safe prompts the viewer to question himself : what is the role of humanity in the rapid evolution of nature ?

SUBTERRANEAN, by Ali Kazma is at Jeu de Paume until January 21

This show brings together videos made from 2006 to the present, including two specially produced for this exhibition. Of varied lengths, although mostly fairly brief (three-five minutes rarely more), they are organized into two open-ended, ongoing ensembles, Obstructions and, starting in 2012, Resistances.

Each is about a specific human activity, or a state of a body submitted to a particular form of constraint, and the mechanisms and territories where this constraint is exercised. We witness practices that require a high level of manual dexterity (neurosurgery, tattoo artistry, calligraphy, archeology) as well as industrial operations (a car factory, a steel mill) and often territories that invite inquiry as to what is hidden within them and the enigmas they constitute (North, Tea Time for example, and Safe a vault where samples of all the world’s food crop seeds are conserved to guard against extinction.

This list is in no way exhaustive. Like a hypersensitive seismograph, this artist records diverse activities or their traces alternating wide-angle shots and detailed close-ups. Sometimes the result seems close to documentary realism. At other times it remains enigmatic. We find ourselves looking at an incredibly intense image, the product of hundreds of hours of filming that invites us to interrogate the real subject of these explorations: the body and its mysteries, the traces it bears and its territorial markings and, in the end, the supreme enigma, the traces of time, the strata that simultaneously constitute and reveal it. This show plays with analogies and conjunctions. Themes seem to emerge, such as work done by skilled hands, as well as spaces and territories, like a former Nato military base, abandoned but left intact; and a former nitrate mine in Chile’s Atacama Desert, used as a prison camp under the military dictatorship. Kazma emphasizes the concept of moderation. The point, he says, is « to leave the world open, to not say everything, to preserve spaces for reflection, contemplation and participation ». But this moderation can only exist if the artist is capable of complete mastery in making these pieces, simultaneously very precise and apparently stripped of all emotion, while in reality vibrant with a contained intensity. Here images are « framed » by black bands of varying dimensions that reconfigure the space around them and give the ensemble a powerful feeling of fluidity. Thus the connections between the videos are clarified, and something of the enigma is maintained. Perhaps what finally predominates is the figure of the historian/archeologist, because the traces so patiently brought to light reveal the future as well as our past

Text by Régis Durand – Translation L-S Torgoff

And during the show HISTORY BOX OFFICE by Curtis Santiago at Analix Forever (2 rue de Hesse, Geneva), Ali Kazma‘s videos are show as VIDEO STREET ART : Calligraphy, Home, L’atelier Sarkis, Prison & Safe



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