A laboratory of the human psyche: two exhibits by a much-discussed visual artist that employ unique forms of narration
Meiro Koizumi explores human psychology through video themed around inner memory and emotion. His work has been called “theatrical,” surely because he takes the performance of characters and a theatrical situation he presents to them, and just films the results. And yet, at the moment when something not the intended role appears and takes on the form of the character, it transcends the frame of performance and transforms the work into a bizarre psychological drama that attracts excess. In this sense, Koizumi’s work may be called a ritual of spiritualism through the medium (both a type of media and a psychic) of video.
This exhibition comprises two works selected on the titular theme of confessions. As a filmmaker and quasi-theater director, Koizumi does not stop only at revealing individual secrets but shows the process of the spirits of emotion and memory transferring to others.
In the State of Amnesia was made with a man who suffered brain damage from a traffic accident at the age of 21 and has since lived with memory impairment. Koizumi instructs the man to memorize and read aloud testimony related to the trauma of a Japanese soldier. The installation consists of two videos: a reproduction of the testimony and an abstract scene of the mental landscape. Showing emotions that cannot be seen and voices that are unvoiced, it questions how human memory can or cannot be related by or to someone.
On the other hand, Death Poem for a City comprises images of the urban landscape and interviews with six anonymous individuals recruited by Koizumi on Facebook. Wearing masks, these unidentified people are encouraged by Koizumi to express their innermost feelings that they would never say in front of others. However, their voices are then dubbed over with the various noises of Tokyo, and played as sounds isolated from the meaning of the words or the feelings embedded in them. By suspending the agency of speech in this way, the madness latent in the city emerges.
These two video installations give the viewer a sense that the memories and emotions that anchor their own identity become ambiguous. This exhibition brings to the fore Koizumi’s idiosyncratic method of amplifying reality by having other bodies possess voices.
October 28 (Sat) −November 27 (Sun)
Open every day
North and South Gallery, Kyoto Art Center
546-2, Yamabushiyama-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
5 min. walk from Exit 22 or 24, Shijo Station, Kyoto Municipal Subway, Karasuma Station, Hankyu Line