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Meiro Koizumi "Today My Empire Sings" installation view at Vacant, Tokyo, 2017
photo: Shizune Shiigi
Courtesy of Meiro Koizumi Studio and MUJIN-TO Production

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Meiro Koizumi "Today My Empire Sings" installation view at Vacant, Tokyo, 2017 photo: Shizune Shiigi Courtesy of Meiro Koizumi Studio and MUJIN-TO Production

Meiro Koizumi

Battlelands

22 November 2018 – 12 January 2019

White Rainbow is proud to announce Battlelands, a solo exhibition of film, photography and sculpture by Japanese artist and filmmaker Meiro Koizumi (b. 1976, Gunma, Japan). This is the artist’s first UK solo exhibition.

In his compelling and challenging body of work, Koizumi examines a range of complex issues: power dynamics on scales both familial and national; the tension between staged and authentic emotion; and the conflict between duty and desire. Koizumi’s artistic practice is shaped by and often directly addresses the political and military history of his native Japan, and its impact on culture and society in the present. Japan’s Peacetime Constitution – a reaction against the brutal militarism of Japanese imperialism – has seen pacifism become central to Japanese identity. Yet the imagery of war looms large over the Japanese psyche today, with on-going debates in the media over how long the peacetime order will hold. This is the context in which Koizumi has worked for the last ten years.

In Koizumi’s provocative performances and constructed scenarios, the artist employs techniques of disruption, repetition and manipulation of his subjects to create extreme emotional reactions. Koizumi intervenes in his works whether directly or indirectly to reveal the fragility of the human psyche and the multi-layered relationships between the voices of power and the multitude or the individual, challenging conventional and official accounts.

At the centre of Koizumi’s white rainbow exhibition is Battlelands (2018): an expansive new body of work four years in the making, which developed on from the artist’s work surrounding the history of Kamikaze pilots and the psychology behind such radical action. Spanning a new single-channel film and still photography, the project sees Koizumi work for the first time with non-Japanese subjects, engaging United States veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Five veterans recount traumatic experiences during these past military conflicts, while wearing body-cams that record images of their current domestic spaces and landscapes in the US. Koizumi seeks to capture banal and ordinary images from his subjects’ daily lives, attempting to construct another kind of image of war. The work articulates how traumatic memories of conflict impact the everyday for these individuals.

The soldiers interviewed came of age at the time of 9/11, and all strongly believed in the political justification for the wars they fought in. As Dave Grossman notes in his book On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society, only 2% of soldiers feel no guilt after killing an enemy combatant. Battlelands looks at the long-term consequence of warfare: how the experience of being on the battlefield involves putting one’s body in a space outside of our ‘normal moral system’, as the artist has stated. Consequently, many veterans suffer in the transition from the reality of war to civilian life, which can lead to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD), whether diagnosed or not. For Koizumi, video is most able to articulate these veterans’ lives, as it can: ‘represent the complexity of multi-layered physiological states in tangible form.’ The film recasts the imagery of a soldier from visions of heroism in popular culture into a more vulnerable portrait of a civilian living with past horrors.

A sense of dread suffuses the lone work installed in White Rainbow’s smaller gallery space. Sleeping Boy (2015) is a rare foray into sculpture for Koizumi, which was made following the birth of the artist’s son. Just as the threat of flashbacks haunt the military veterans, Koizumi was plagued by fear of his son dying. He realised he had a primal instinct to protect his son. To deal with his anxiety, every night Koizumi copied the shape of his son’s head, hands, and feet, subsequently producing a clay sculpture.

For Koizumi, medals are the only way to celebrate military personnel, which in turn value heroism, bravery and sacrifice. What goes unrewarded is the struggle with weakness and vulnerability after the fact. Koizumi tries to redress this here in his poetic portrait of military veterans, and in his own deep psychological fears surrounding the safety of his family.

Meiro Koizumi (1976, Gunma, Japan) investigates the boundaries between the private and the public, a domain of specific importance to his native Japanese culture. His videos are often based on performances and constructed scenarios. He places characters, played by himself or others, in awkward situations. Often starting harmoniously he gradually heightens the tension manipulating the situation from humorous to painful. His performances focus and enlarge the moment when a situation gets out of control, becomes embarrassing or breaks social rules.

Meiro Koizumi
B. 1976, Gunma, Japan
Lives and works in Yokohama, JP
Education
2005 – 2006 Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam, NL
1999 – 2002 Chelsea College of Art and Design, London Institute – BA Fine Art, London, UK
1996 – 1999 International Christian University – BA Liberal Arts, Tokyo, JP
Awards, grants and residencies
2018
Residency at MAC VAL, Paris
2014
Kadist Art Foundation, Paris. FR
2013
Future Generation Art Prize, Pinchuk Art Center – People’s Prize
2012
Residency San Art, Ho Chi Minh City, VN
2010
Art Scope
2009/2010
Daimler Foundation in Japan (DFJ), Berlin, DE
2009
Open Satellite, Bellevue WA, US
2005
Japanese Government Overseas Study Program for Artists, Agency for Cultural Affairs, Jp
2003
Arcus Project, Ibaraki, JP
2001
Beck’s Futures 2 – Student Film and Video Award, 1st prize, London, UK
Solo Exhibitions
2018
Battlelands, White Rainbow, London, UK
Battlelands, Perez Art Museum, Miami, USA
2016
Air, MUJIN-TO Production, Tokyo, Japan
Today My Empire Sings, De Hallen, Haarlem NL
In Between the night and sleepwalkers, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL
2015
Arts Maebashi, Maebashi, JP
Portrait of a Failed Silence, MUAC – Museo Universitario Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City
Trapped Voice Would Dream of Silence, Arts Maebashi, Gunma, JP
2014
Testsite, Austin, Texas, USA
Theory on the Desk, Kadist Art Foundation, Paris, FR
Double Projection, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL
2013
BMW Tate live: Performance Room, Tate Modern, London
Art Projections, Annet Gellink Gallery, Art Rotterdam, Rotterdam, NL
Museum of Modern Art, New York, US
2012
Defect in Vision, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL
Centro de Arte de Caja de Burgos (CAB), Burgos, ES
Human Opera, San Art, Ho Chi Minh City, VN
2011
Broken Heroes, Beautiful Afternoons, Artspace, Sydney, AU My voice would reach you,
LOOP ART FAIR, Barcelona, ES
2010
Total Ecstasy, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL
Alon Levin presents Art Shows: Meiro Koizumi, KLEMM’s projectroom 7d5e, Berlin, DE
The Love Supreme, Gallery Raku, Kyoto Zokei University, Kyoto, JP
2009
The Corner of Sweet and Bitter, Open Satellite, Bellevue WA, US
My Voice would Reach You – A Survey of the First Ten Years, 2000 – 2009, Hedreen Gallery, Seattle, WA, US
MAM Project 009, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, JP
2008
Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York, US
2007
XXX: Trilogy, Dicksmith Gallery, London, UK
2006
Portrait of M., Zinger presents, Tilburg, NL
Annet Gelink Gallery, The Bakery, Amsterdam, NL
2005
Mary Mary, Glasgow, UK
Galeria Luisa Strina, Sao Paulo, BR
Jap, Window Gallery, Antwerp, BE
2004
Powerlessly Hardcore, The Dicksmith Gallery, London, UK
Group Exhibitions
2018
Visions of Exchange, Mercedes – Benz Art Scope Award 2009 – 2017, Daimler Contemporary, Potsdamer Platz, Berlin
Art Basel, with Annet Gelink Gallery, Basel, CH
10th Asia Art Biennial, Taiwan Museum of Art, Taiwan
2017
Faits alternatifs, FRAC Poitou – Charentes, Angoulême, FR
2016
Theatre Dreams of a Beautiful Afternoon – Part 2, Manifesta Office, Amsterdam, NL
Theatre Dreams of a Beautiful Afternoon – Part 1, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL
The Time is Out of Joint, SharjahBiennial, (United Arab Emirates)
Takashi Murakami’s Superflat Collection ― From Shōhaku and Rosanjin to Anselm Kiefer ― Yokohama Museum of Art, Japan
2015
Trans – Northeast Asia, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong Jakarta Biennale, Jakarta, Indonesia
Manual to the Reality, DigiArt Gallery, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei
Stance or Distance?, Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto, Kumamoto, Japan
inToAsia: TBA Festival 2015 (screening), Queens Museum, New York
Don’t Follow the Wind, Non – Visitor Center, Exclusion Zone of the nuclear disaster site, Fukushima, Japan
Demarcation – Akira Takayama + Meiro Koizumi, Ginza Maison Hermès Le Forum, Tokyo Beyond Hiroshima: The Return of the Repressed, Genia Schreiber University Gallery, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv
La chose/The Thing, Centre d’Art Contemporarian la Synagogue de Delme, France Chercher le garcon, Musée d’art contemporain du Val – de – Marne (MAC VAL), France
The Subtle Triangle, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul
Invisible Energy, ST Paul St Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand
2014
Amsterdam Drawing Extended, Annet Gelink, Gallery, Amsterdam, NL Emoties, Gemeentemuseum Helmond, Helmond, NL
Ten Million Rooms of Yearning. Sex in Hong Kong, Para Site, Hong Kong, CN
Shenzhen Biennale, Shenzhen, CN
Wehaveneverparticipated, 8th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale, Shenzhen, CN
Affekte (Affects), Kunstpalais in Erlangen, Erlangen, DE
Will happiness find me?, Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Tokyo, JP
2013
Kazeiro no Hana (Dialogue with Future), Arts Maebashi, Gunma
Unknown Forces, MSGSU Tophane – i Amire Culture and Arts Center, Istanbul, TR
KAdE, Now Japan, Amersfoort, NL
If you will it, it is not a dream, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam
Roppongi Crossing, Mori Museum, Tokyo
Shame, Fundacion Especial Caja Madrid, Madrid
ArtBO International Art Fair Bogota, CO
Agenda Santiago, En El Cab – CAB Centro de Arte Caja Burgos, Burgos
Move on Asia, Towards a New Art Network 2004 – 2013, City Gallery Wellington, NZ
Move on Asia, video art in Asia 2002 – 2012, ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany
Out of Doubt, Roppongi Crossing, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, JP
Nissan Art Award, Yokohama, JP
Future Generation Art Prize, Venice, IT
Unattained Landscapes, The Japan Foundation, Venice, IT
2012
15th Asian Art Biennale, Bangladesh 2012, Dhaka
Her name is Abstra, Daido Warehouse, Kyoto
Pinchuk Future Generation Art Prize 2012, Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev, UA
9th Shanghai Biennale, Bandung Pavillion, collaborative work with Duto Hardono
Identity VIII, Nichido Contemporary Art, Tokyo, JP
Experimenta Speak to Me, 5th Biennale of Media Art : Melbourne, AU
Project Liquido, Fundacion Alumnos 47, Mexico City
Emotional Blackmail, Kitchener – Waterloo Art Gallery, Canada
Journey to the West, Japan Foundation in Lalit Kalat Academy, New Delhi, IN
Tokyo Story, Tokyo Wondersite, Tokyo, JP
2011
Impersonale, Miro Foundation in Mallorca, Spain (Performance)
OK Video, 5th Jakarta International Video Festival, Jakarta, ID
After Humanism, Alternative Space LOOP, Seoul, KR
Emotional Blackmail, Southern Alberta Art Gallery, CA
Art Scope 2009 – 2011: Invisible Memories, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo JP
Super 8, Christopher Grimes Gallery, Los Angeles, US
Silent Narrator, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tokyo, JP
Unknown Sight, Maebashi Museum Pre – event, Gunma, JP
2010
Liverpool Biennial 2010, FACT, Liverpool, UK
Media City Seoul 2010, The 6th Seoul International Biennale of Media Art, Seoul, KR
Yellow Gate, Sangrok Gallery of Gwangju Museum of Art, Gwangju, KR
Last Words 2, 4A Center for Asian Contemporary Art, Sydney, AU
Aichi Triennale, Nagoya, JP
Resonance, Suntory Museum, Osaka, JP
2009
A Blow to Everyday, Osage Gallery, curated by Yuko Hasegawa, Hong Kong, CN
Japan Video Window, Galerija Duplex, Sarajevo, BA
Bivouac, Vox Populi Gallery, Philadelphia, US
Re : Membering – Next of Japan, Alternative Space LOOP, Seoul, KR
2008
3rd Nanjing Triennal, Nanjing, CN
Artificial Nature, Shanghai MOCA, Shanghai CN
Life Stories, Gallery TPW, Toronto, CA
Brotherhood of Subterranea, Kunstbunker, Nuremberg, DE
Rehab ! Ben Laloua/Didier Pascal with Christina Jankowski and Meiro Koizumi, Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, NL
Persona Non Grata, One in the Other, London, UK
2007
Tussle in Shorthand, Punch Gallery, Seattle, US
It Is Not A Question Of Knowing Whether This Interests You But Rather Whether You Yourself Coul Become More Interesting Under New Conditions Of Cultural Creation, Frye Art Museum, Seattle, US
De ontdekking van de traagheid, KW 14, ‘s- Hertogenbosch, NL
2006
War and Nature, Virgile de Voldere Gallery, New York, US Work, Kunstfort, Vijfhuizen, NL
Sexy Politics, Alpha M Project 2005 / vol 8, Art Space Kimura ASK, Tokyo, JP
Hiscox Art Award, Arti et Amicitae, Amsterdam, NL
2005
Hotspots, Essl Collection, Vienna, AU
videoDictionary, La Casa Encendida, Madrid, ES
Relocated Identities/ Part I – Overexposure, Public Space with a Roof, Amsterdam, NL
2004
No Pre / No Con, Galeria Moriarty, Madrid, ES
Mediarena, Govett Brewster Art Gallery, NZ
Old Habits Die Hard, Norwich Gallery (UK),
Kunstnernes Hus, NO
Out the Window, Japan Foundation Forum (Tokyo), Project Space Zip, Seoul, KR
2003
Group VS Show, The Dicksmith Gallery, London, UK
Please Don’t Make Me Cry, Emily Tsingou Gallery, London, UK
2001
Beck’s Futures 2 – Student Film and Video Award, ICA (London, UK),
Bluecoat Gallery (Liverpool, UK),
Sotheby’s (New York, US)
I Goo Goo, Hothaus , London, UK
Selected video screenings and events
2017
IDFA – International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, Amsterdam, NL
2014
Meiro Koizumi: Human Opera xxx VideoGud, Videokonstnätverket , April 24 – May 14 Gävlebor, Uppsala. Dalarna, SE
Meiro Koizumi: FUSEBOX, April 16 – April 27, Austin Texas, USA
Meiro Koizumi on the Fine Line between Humor and Cruelty, April 22, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Houston, Texas, USA
2013
Meiro Koizumi: TATE LIVE, June 13
2012
Screening and talk, Goethe Institut Hanoi, February 17, VN
2011
Performance Autopsychobabble # 2, Impersonate, Fundacio Pilar I Joan Miro a Mallorca, Mallorca, ES
Performance Autopsychobabble, Art Basel 42, June 17th, Basel, CH
Panorama, Impakt Festival 2011, Utrecht, NL
2008
Asian Hot Shots Berlin, Festival for Film and Video Art, Berlin, DE
To – Lo Video Screening: Recent Video Art from Japan, The Stephen Lawrence Gallery, London, UK
2007
Idiot Joy Showland, The IFC Centre, New York, US
Video Art Screening Vol. 5 – After the News, BankART1929, Yokohama, JP
Art Summer University, Tate Modern, London, UK
Japanese Video Art Screening, Heine Onstad Kunstsenter, NO
2006
Galleries Show, Extra City, Antwerp, BE
2005
Video Art Screening Tokyo Vol. 4 – Dreaming bodies, Asahi Art Squre, Tokyo, JP
Panorama, Impakt Festival 2005, Utrecht, NL
2004
All Tomorrow’s Déjà Vu, Island Art Film and Video Festival 04 (London), Video Mundi, at Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, US
Move on Asia,  SBS 1st Floor Atrium,Seoul,KR
Video Art Screening Tokyo Vol. 3 – Paradise Views, Tokyo International Forum Hall D1, Tokyo, JP
2003
In Different Spaces, Tokyo Wonder Site, Tokyo, JP
Blowing up Film and Video Festival, The Clerkenwell, London, UK
2002
Not Addressed, Pump House Gallery, London, UK
SCRAMBLE, Brunei Gallery, University of London/Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow
Collections
M+, Museum for Visual Culture, Hong Kong
Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
Tate Modern, London, UK
Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, NL
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL
Museum De Hallen, Haarlem, NL
Kadist Art Foundation, Paris, FR
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, JP
Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, South Brisbane, AU
FRAC Poitou – Charentes, Angouleme, FR
Takashi Murakami, Tokyo, JP
Frans Halsmuseum, Haarlem, NL
Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar, NL
Caldic Collection, Wassenaar, NL

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