Ali Kazma /   Ömer Ali Kazma

Turkey 1971

Video Art

Ali Kazma
Ömer Ali Kazma
May 27, 2016
Alias of Jasmina Sevic, a researcher and author for Widewalls. She graduated from the Faculty of Political Science (Department for Journalism) in Belgrade in 2013.

Our hands have amazing power – to build or to tear down, to create or to destroy, to give or to receive. No matter what, man changes the world with intent through his hands leaving a mark on his surrounding, one way or another. Fascinated by this part of human body and all its possibilities, Turkish video artist Ali Kazma devoted his career to exploring how people touch the world and vice versa. He builds – video after video – a catalog of the infinite potential of the human hands and body to invent, change, and shape the world in varied ways.

Ali Kazma - Clock Master, video still pavilion arter
Ali Kazma – Clock Master, video still

Video Art by Ali Kazma

Ali Kazma’s meticulously created videos capture the process of work of the various professionals including brain surgeon, taxidermist, studio ceramicist, watch repairman, butcher, and many others. Armed only with his camera – no props or lighting – Kazma always goes to the chosen location alone. He visits factories, workshops, slaughterhouses, operating rooms, where he captures the authentic relationship between work and man creating striking videos. He uses the artistic practice to depict the sequences of work, especially those that require mechanical repetition or artisanal hand labor, as well as to raise awareness concerning political and economic issues in his native country and its major cities that are going through urban changes.

Ali Kazma’s meticulously created videos capture the process of work of the various professionals

Resistance – Exhibition of Kazma’s Work at the Venice Biennale

In November 2013, Ali Kazma represented Turkey at the 55th Venice Biennale where he presented his ongoing multi-channel video installation entitled Resistance. Recorded at such locations as the Galatasaray High School in Istanbul, a Turkish prison, a New York theater, a London tattoo parlor, a Berlin robotics laboratory, a film set in Paris, hospital operating rooms and weight-lifting gyms, Resistance shows the varying ways in which man alters and contorts the physical body in order to control, shape, alter, adorn or even be released from it. Resistance evolved out of the Obstructions series (2005) in which the artist explored the tense equilibrium between order and chaos, life and death. Some of his works also include the multi-channel installations like Absence, Past, and Written.

The artist represented Turkey at the 55th Venice Biennale

Ali Kazma - Resistance, 2013, video still pavilion arter
Ali Kazma – Resistance, 2013, video still

Academic Background and Exhibitions

Born in 1971, Istanbul, Ali Kazma completed his undergraduate studies in the USA in 1993. After briefly studying photography in London, he moved back to the United States to study film in 1995. He obtained his Master of Arts from The New School University in New York. Upon his return to Turkey, he began his career as a video artist in 1998 becoming internationally recognized for his sets of short videos that are usually between ten and twelve minutes long. His work has been included in exhibitions in the US, Turkey, Japan, Italy, Montenegro, Cuba and others. Kazma’s major solo show was hosted by the exhibition center Arter in Istanbul in 2015. Entitled Timemaker, the show featured 22 videos selected from the artist’s impressive body of work.

Timemaker featured 22 videos selected from the artist’s impressive body of work

Video as a Tool for Exploring Authentic Experience

Ali Kazma received several awards for his work including 2010 Nam June Paik Award given by North Rhine-Westphalia Art Foundation in the field of media art for the Obstructions and was granted the 2001 UNESCO Award for the Promotion of the Arts. He made a name for himself on the Turkish and international contemporary art scene by creating videos that raise fundamental questions about the meaning and significance of human activity and labor as well as the authentic experiences of people while they are working on the real projects.

Ali Kazma lives and works in Istanbul, Turkey.

Featured image: Ali Kazma – portrait, photo via
All images photo credits of Ali Kazma and Francesca Minini Gallery

YearExhibition TitleMuseum/GallerySolo/Group
2016Body MemoryTopographie de l'art, ParisGroup
2016This yearning is oursCenter of Contemporary Art Znaki Czasu - CoCA, TorunGroup
2016Shape of Time – Future of NostalgiaNational Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC), BucharestGroup
2016art et prisonLa Terrasse, Espace d'art de Nanterre, NanterreGroup
2015Ali KazmaCAPRI, DusseldorfSolo
2015Ali KazmaCare - Francesca Minini, MilanSolo
2015Ali Kazma: timemakerARTER - space for art, IstanbulSolo
2015Memory & OblivionStation, BeirutGroup
20151re Biennale art nOmadParvis du Palais de Tokyo, ParisGroup
2015Artists in their timeIstanbul Modern, IstanbulGroup
2014Overture: New AcquisitionsBorusan Contemporary, IstanbulGroup
2014La Belle Echappee - Château des AdhemarCentre d'art contemporain, MontelimarGroup
2014Fragile Sense of Hope. Art Collection Telekomme Collectors Room Berlin, BerlinGroup
2014Helvetica ZebraStation, BeirutGroup
2014PlaytimeStädtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus & Kunstbau, MunichGroup
2014All About These... Ladies And GentlemenNational Gallery of Arts - Tirana, TiranaGroup
2014MotopoetiqueMusee d'Art Contemporain Lyon, LyonGroup
2013Ali KazmaGalerie Magda Danysz, ParisSolo
2013Oeuvres De La Collection Philippe Cohen 20 Ans D'acquisitionsPassage de Retz, ParisGroup
2013The unanswered question. iskele 2Tanas, BerlinGroup
2013The Unanswered Question. Iskele2NBK - Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, BerlinGroup
2013The Red Queen - MonaMuseum of Old and New Art, Hobart, TASGroup
2013Biennale di Venezia - 55th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di VeneziaVeniceGroup
2013L'eau et les rêvesAbbaye de Jumièges, JumiègesGroup
2013Quel Travail ?! Manieres De Faire, Manieres De VoirCentre photographique d?Ile-de-France, Pontault CombaultGroup
2012Ali KazmaC24, New York City, NYSolo
2012IntimacyFrancesca Minini, MilanSolo
2012Ali KazmaAbsence - Qbox gallery, AthensSolo
201230th Sao Paulo BiennialBienal de Sao Paulo, São PauloGroup
2012Minor TruthsEgeran Galeri, IstanbulGroup
2012Other Revolts OtekI AyaklanmalarGaleri Nev - Istanbul, IstanbulGroup
2012Safari - le lieu uniqueNantesGroup
2012Arsenale 2012Mystetskyi Arsenal, KievGroup
2012A la croisee des imagesMaison Europeenne de la Photographie, ParisGroup
2012HIGH TECH-LOW TECH – Foremas de ProducaoOi Futuro, Rio de Janeiro, RJGroup
2012For YouMuzeum Sztuki in Lodz, Main Building, LodzGroup
2011Black Box: Ali KazmaHirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DCSolo
2011Ali KazmaHow to Film a Poet ? - Topographie de l'art, ParisSolo
20113rd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art - Old Intersections-Make it NewState Museum of Contemporary Art, ThessalonikiGroup
2011 6a Curitiba BiennialInstituto Paranaense de Arte, Curitiba Group
2011Double CrescentC24, New York City, NYGroup
2011Workers Leaving the Workplacems2 – Muzeum Sztuki Lodz, LodzGroup
2011OrientaleZuecca Project Space, VeniceGroup
2011Tactics of InvisibilityARTER - space for art, IstanbulGroup
2011Paradise Lost Istanbul Modern, IstanbulGroup
2011H-Box Artsonje Center, SeoulGroup
2011If the Nature is Heaven the City is Hell Cer Modern, AnkaraGroup
2010Ali KazmaThings We Do - Tanas, BerlinSolo
2010Carte Blanche Analix Forever, GenevaGroup
2010Second Exhibition ARTER - space for art, IstanbulGroup
2010City-O-Rama 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, Hong KongGroup
2010Nam June Paik Award 2010 Museum Kunstpalast, DusseldorfGroup
2010Tactics of Invisibility Tanas, BerlinGroup
2010When Ideas Become Crime Depo, IstanbulGroup
2010Workers Leaving the WorkplaceMuzeum Sztuki in Lodz, Main Building, LodzGroup
2010Dont Acte Espace Croise, RoubaixGroup
2010Tactics of Invisibility - Pi ArtworksIstanbulGroup
2010Tactics of Invisibility - T-B A21 Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, ViennaGroup
2010Not easy to save the world in 90 days 44 Moen, AskebyGroup
2009Ali KazmaEspace Croise, RoubaixSolo
2009Ali KazmaAnalix Forever, GenevaSolo
2009Ali KazmaObstructions - Qbox gallery, AthensSolo
2009IV Bienal de Jafre Bienal de Jafre, Jafre, GironaGroup
2009Istanbul, traversee Palais des Beaux-Arts Lille, LilleGroup
2009Art in the Auditorium Fundación PROA, Buenos AiresGroup
2009Not easy to save the world in 90 days Tanas, BerlinGroup
2009a different similarity: endgame Alternative Space Loop, SeoulGroup
2008Ali KazmaFrancesca Minini, MilanSolo
2008Wang Jianwei - Ali Kazma, Art in the AuditoriumWhitechapel Art Gallery, LondonGroup
2008Glanz und Globalisierung: Fussball, Medien und KunstPROGR Zentrum fur Kulturproduktionen, BernGroup
2008Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveauAnalix Forever, GenevaGroup
2008Die letzten Dinge, Son SeylerWestfälischer Kunstverein, MunsterGroup
20079e Biennale de Lyon 2007 - biennale d'art contemporain de LyonLyonGroup
20071st Athens Biennial 2007Technopolis of the City of Athens, AthensGroup
200710th International Istanbul Biennial, International Istanbul BiennialIstanbulGroup
2007We Love CinemaBard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NYGroup
2007World FactorySan Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CAGroup
2006Contemporary Art from the BosphorusCentro d'arte contemporanea, Codroipo, UDGroup
2006Human Game. Winners And LoosersStazione Leopolda, FlorenceGroup
2006The Beautiful Game: Contemporary Art and FutbolRoebling Hall, New York City, NYGroup
2006Glanz und GlobalisierungHMKV - Hartware MedienKunstVerein, DortmundGroup
20069. Bienal de La HabanaCentro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam, HavanaGroup
20055. Cetinje BiennaleCetinje Biennale of Visual Arts, CetinjeGroup
2003What remainsPlatform Garanti Contemporary Art Center, IstanbulSolo
2003Real McCoyK2 Contemporary Art Center, IzmirGroup
2002Omer Ali KazmaVideoarbeiten - Galerie Inge Baecker, CologneSolo
2002Faux - RealBorusan Art Gallery, IstanbulGroup
20019e Biennale de l’Image en MouvementCentre pour l'image contemporaine, GenevaGroup
20017th International Istanbul Biennial 2001IstanbulGroup
2001Im Zeichen der Stadt; ZeitgenOssische Kunst aus der TurkeiKunstmuseum Bonn, BonnGroup