Working in video and performance, Japanese video and performance artist Meiro Koizumi has built a compelling body of work that deals with power dynamics on scales from the familial to the national, and examines questions of political and psychological control. Implicating himself, his performers and the viewer through choreographed emotional manipulations, Koizumi creates works that straddle the uncomfortable and indefinable line between cruelty and comedy.
His first solo museum installation in the US, Projects 99, at MoMA includes a selection of earlier projects, as well as Defect in Vision, Meiro’s most ambitious and accomplished project to date. Probing the idea of blindness—both philosophical and physical—the piece is projected on two sides of a single screen, preventing the viewer from taking in both views at once. The action follows two blind performers who repeatedly enact a domestic scene set during World War II — the last meal they will ever eat together. While staged in the historical past, the scene’s portent of impending catastrophe has taken on a new relevance following the Fukushima nuclear disaster, in a work that is incisive, thought-provoking, and visually lush. The show is up through May 6 in New York.