21 Mar - 7 Jun, 2015
Arts Maebashi | Gunma, Japan
Single Video Intallation
9 min, Stereo, Color
In Meiro Koizumi’s world, the imagination is rooted in the body. In ‘Mum’(2003),sentimental music plays from a stereo as Koizumi slowly draws a telephone conversation with his mother round to the revelation that he is ‘in a war’, at which point the piece explodes into a bizarre vocal chaos of battle sounds. In ‘Meirokozuuuuumi’ (2001), the artist’s body divides into various personages; the protagonist is a hand transformed into a sort of centaur, its face drawn on a thick neck formed by his wrist, and the creature snarls and squeals variations of the title into a microphone while a meditative foot beats plodding, irregular time with a guitar in the background. While there is a connection with certain videos by Bruce Nauman, especially ‘Lip-Sync’ (1973), where the artist’s head becomes an eyeless monster through being inverted and cropped below the nose (Koizumi even uses the same trick in ‘Fhe Wav a Very Veautiful Woman’ (2001), Koizumi’s work has an extra element of temporal unfolding. Towards the end of the piece, the overwrought hand-creature wrestles a mirror into a confrontation with the camera, but rather than revealing the creator of the artifice a weird, masked being momentarily flickers into view.
The atmosphere of Koizumi’’s work owes a lot to his sense of timing. Things often drag on just a little bit too long, we’re lost in the woods longer than we should be in ‘Help’ (2003), so that by the time the source of the voice appears, suspense has mutated into frustration and confusion; the reduction of the image to total darkness also seems to signal the end, but the audio track continues to evoke obscure events for minuets more. The expected rhythms of both narrative and repetitive video are constantly and deliberately disturbed.
‘Jap’ (2004) is more overtly violent than previous works, but structurally just as controlled. A bound Japanese man is given a brutal ‘lesson’ in human rights by a Western-looking woman who, in making her point, succeeds in murdering and subsequently humiliating him. Cut to an older Japanese man reciting, in a halting but forceful voice, a list of his desires and perceived deficiencies that manages to be simultaneously disturbing and ludicrous. Another cut and the murdered man returns to life – the cycle, we assume, will repeat. There is a distinct thematic logic to the sequence’s elements, but their assembly is fragmented, and despite graphic and relentless imagery it’s hard to dig out a set of clear allegorical meanings. Instead, as is typical of Koizumi’s work, the cultural, the political and the corporeal interlock in a harsh and uneasy fantasy.
David Musgrave 2004
(from press release of Dicksmith Gallery)