In the ongoing series of drawings Fog, Meiro Koizumi reproduces stills from various movies by renowned Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu. 

 

During the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), Ozu was sent to China to fight in the war. According to his diary, at the beginning of the war, he was making plans to make war films once he goes back to his homeland Japan. His diary was filled with ideas of scenes that depict the daily lives of the soldiers in a foreign country. But at some point during the war he stopped making such notes. As a soldier, he was the unit leader for a unit that spread chemical gas against the Chinese army. He saw and experienced the worst of the war. After Ozu came back to Japan, he never made a single war film nor a single scene involving war battles. All the scars of the war are erased, and repressed under the surface of beautiful daily lives of the people on screen.

 

The cinematography of Ozu is known for his painstaking method that involved carefully arranging props and actors to create tableau-like scenes, using his actors almost as puppets. As such, Ozu's films play very much within the context of traditional Japanese theatre, with actors not acting freely or naturalistically. The actors' faces thus are mere masks, the actors mere forms, devoid of emotion or interiority.

 

Koizumi observes how important is that, in Ozu's film, the camera almost never moves, and the filmmaker tries to construct the perfect image by looking through the lens within the frame. The space outside of the frame doesn't exist. Everything is on the surface and within the frames.

 

By the gesture of erasing through a heavy mist that pervades the drawings, Koizumi discovers (or invents) a new dimension, beyond the existing frame and under the surface. Pursuing his investigation into Japan’s ritualistic culture and past events, the fog becomes an element for revealing, rather than concealing, the painful reality hidden behind the serene facades, searching for new ways of resolving the past in a way that can be understood on a global scale.

 

 

 

Meiro Koizumi attended the International Christian University, Tokyo, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London as well as the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam.

 

Selected Exhibitions:  2019 A Tale of Hidden Histories at EYE Filmmuseum, Sharjah Biennale 14the 12th Shanghai Biennale, The 9th Art Pacific Triennial and Battlelands, Minneapolis Institute of Fine Art. 2018 Battlelands, Perez Art Museum, Le nouveau souffle après la tempête, MAC VAL. 2017 Annet Gelink Gallery, Frans Halsmuseum, Haarlem. 2016 Arts Maebashi 2015, Kadist Art Foundation 2014 Museum of Modern Art, New York 2013 Centro de Arte de Caja de Burgos (CAB) 2012 Art Space, Sydney 2011 and the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo 2009.

 

His works are included in major public and private collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York, TATE Modern, London, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Kadist Art Foundation, Paris The Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Frans Halsmuseum, Haarlem, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, South Brisbane, and M+, Museum for Visual Culture, Hong Kong.