CIHA 2016 in Beijing

34th World Congress of Art History

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ZOHAR, Ayelet
The Intimate, the Controversial and the Public Sphere: Koizumi Meiro's Video Performances

Session 18 Media and Visuality

Tel Aviv University 


Koizumi Meiro (b. 1976, Gunma, Japan) has created several projects that question the notion boundaries of truth and fiction, personal intimacy, commonly agreed social limits and controversial issues/ behavior – in Japanese society, as well as the global context. In his varying video projects, Koizumi questions the ways we agree to communicate fantasies, share hopes, conceal desires, or confront uncomfortable truths. This is especially true and effective in Japanese society, where strong outlines of agreed limits are drawn, yet Koizumi challenges these limits in his performances in a way that reflect on a much broader audience, beyond Japan.

In my talk I shall present three central themes that are being explored in Koizumi's work: the silence around the war-memory of the Asia-Pacific War ("Voice of a Dead Hero", 2010); problems surrounding issues of loneliness and personal compliance with social and common expectations, and the difficulty imposed on personal freedom and honest communication ("Your Voice Could not Reach Me", 2007).

I will argue that by using performative approach, and by applying a range of parafictional methods that stretch between complete theatrical fiction, street performances, documentary footage and confessional interviews, Koizumi is able to negotiate specific dilemmas in personal, as well as global context. The projects are therefore successful in questioning authority, and presenting refusal to recognize its reality.

ZOHAR, Ayelet 

Dr. Ayelet Zohar is Lecturer at the department of Art History Tel Aviv University. She is also an independent curator, specializing in contemporary Japanese art, and the history and theory of photography in Japan. Zohar recent curatorial endeavor Beyond Hiroshima: The Return of the Repressed   Wartime Memory, Performativity and the Documentary in Contemporary Japanese Photography and Video Art, was shown at the Tel Aviv University Art Gallery, in  2015. Zohar is also working on a book length manuscript that looks at war memory and trauma in contemporary Japanese photography, including the work of Morimura Yasumasa, Yamashiro Chikako, Tsukada Mamoru and Koizumi Meiro among others.