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FINIS TERRAE by Ali Kazma

avril 12, 2019

Ali Kazma’s most recent work Finis Terrae focuses particularly on the areas concentrated with lighthouses on Ouessant Island and in the Finistére region of France. This new work continues the artist’s long-term research into the relationship between time, space and geography. The exhibition can be visited until the 11th of May 2019.

Translated as “land’s end” in English, Finis Terrae is the first work of the artist’s project Ultra Marine. Ultra Marine will be made up of numerous videos focusing on the interaction between nature and man at the border between the land and the sea. Finis Terrae was shot throughout March and April of 2018 in the area marked by the lighthouses Stiff, Kéréon, Phare du Créac’h, La Jument, Phare d’Eckmühl, Saint-Mathieu and Phare de Nividic. The artist says that the lighthouses had been a point of interest for him for some time and that he had been conducting concentrated research on the subject. Having long been drawn to the profound relationship of time to objects and spaces, Ali Kazma now focuses on the lighthouses as these structures contain many links to the history and the socio-economical make-up of the areas they are located in. Marking the extreme points on the map around the passages and borders between the sea and the land, lighthouses have endured the harsh conditions of nature for centuries while providing safe passage to people in transit. In this sense, Finis Terrae can be considered a continuation of Ali Kazma’s previous works such as Absence (2011)Safe (2015)North (2017) which reflect on human constructions that resist time.

Ouessant Island, where the majority of the filming took place, is known for its strategic importance over the maritime trade of Northern and Southern Europe. It is also known for its severe storms, strong currents, and volcanic rocks that make navigation very difficult. This harsh terrain has caused many shipwrecks over the centuries; between 1888 and 1904 around 30 ships were lost here and as a result, many of the lighthouses in France were built in this area. Some images in the videos also show us that from time to time Ali Kazma’s filming was also carried out under physically challenging circumstances. Even though the lighthouses are featured prominently in the videos, the surrounding geography and the context where one finds these improbable structures are almost as important as the lighthouses themselves. The moon, the sea and the rocky nature of the area, as well as countless other elements and the changes that these go through in time, create a continuous flow of exchange between the lighthouses and their environment.

Another important point for the artist is the relation between the lighthouses and the camera which is based on the notions of seeing and being seen. The camera exists to see, record and make things visible and the purpose for the existence of the lighthouse is to be seen. Therefore, it is possible to say that the camera and the lighthouse create a perfect loop based on mutual give and take; that they are almost made for each other. Another essential link between cinema and the lighthouses are the fresnel lenses which are used to increase the range of visibility of the lighthouses. The same lenses are used in cinema for lightning.

As objects that have occupied a special place in human psychology, lighthouses have inspired many works in art and literature. This time, we get to see a contemporary take on the subject through Ali Kazma’s particular vision.

The exhibition Finis Terrae is produced by Galeri Nev Istanbul. Serra Yentürk has worked as the production coordinator.

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