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Art in focus: Ali Kazma

Turkish artist Ali Kazma’s video installation “O.K.” — now on view at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden — has something in common with “Pina,” Wim Wenders’s forthcoming movie about choreographer Pina Bausch, which opens in D.C. on Jan. 27. Both celebrate extreme movements of the human body.

In Kazma’s case, the subject is not a dancer, but an Istanbul notary public, who is shown rubber-stamping stacks of documents at mind-blowing speed, on seven separate video screens. The work lies somewhere between documentary and performance art. Read my review of the show, and check out a few stills from “Black Box: Ali Kazma.”


We never see much more of Kazma’s anonymous subject than his hands. Kazma chose this particular notary public not just because he was fast, but because he had beautiful and elegant digits. (Courtesy of C24 Gallery and Vehbi Koç Foundation)

The documents that we see being stamped in "O.K." are official corporate filings, such as inventories and balance sheets. But the strange beauty of the video belies the dry subject matter. (Courtesy of C24 Gallery and Vehbi Koç Foundation)

Best supporting actor: An ordinary, old-fashioned rubber stamp, seen in a rare moment of repose. (Courtesy of C24 Gallery and Vehbi Koç Foundation)

Kazma found this desk in a used office furniture store. He picked it out because he liked the sound it made — like a percussion instrument — when struck by the rubber stamp. (Courtesy of C24 Gallery and Vehbi Koç Foundation)

Fingers fly so fast and furious in "O.K." that it looks like the action was digitally sped up, for effect. It’s all actual speed, says the artist. (Courtesy of C24 Gallery and Vehbi Koç Foundation)
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