9 September – 28 October 2023


Annet Gelink Gallery is proud to announce Good Machine Bad Machine, Meiro Koizumi’s sixth solo exhibition in the gallery. 


Named after its prominent video installation, the show raises questions around hypnosis, authority, consciousness, and mechanics. The title Good Machine Bad Machine (2022) is a direct reference to Bruce Nauman’s video Good Boy Bad Boy (1985), in which two actors repeat the same sentences (‘’I am a bad boy’’/’’I am a good boy’’) with increasing emotional intensity. In his work, Nauman creates a system of speech based on acting and questions the authenticity of speech and inner emotions. 


In the video installation, Koizumi brings this premise into the mechanical realm by using hypnosis, instead of acting, to change the actors’ emotions. The sentences that are repeated reflect on notions of authority, free will and the human-machine relationship, and are emotionally charged. However, through hypnosis and the mechanical repetition this demands, sentences turn into empty words, and emotions into programmed sentiments. Words like ‘’forgive’’, ‘’escape’’, and ‘’be a good human’’ resonate throughout the space like the sound of a creaking machine.


By contrast, the robotic arm, which is a part of the video installation, gives the machine uncanny, human-like qualities. The footage of Tokyo, on the backside of the projection screen, was filmed by Koizumi in the 11 years after 2011 earthquake and connects the theme of hypnosis to a social reality. As an installation, Good Machine Bad Machine reveals human vulnerability towards authority and sheds light on the ways in which technologies like Artificial Intelligence are used to shape our daily life and desires, de-stabilizing the definition of what it means to be human. 


The series Fog and Symbol both make use of the gesture of erasure to comment on repression and oppression. Fog takes as a starting point the filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu (1903 – 1963), who was deployed in the troop using poison gas in the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), filled his diary with ideas for war films. However, he never shot a war film, nor a single scene depicting the war. In Ozu’s films, all the scars of the war are erased and repressed under the surface of the beautiful daily lives of the people on screen. The Symbol series focuses on the representation of the Japanese Emperor. As a sacred symbol of the state, it is forbidden for the Emperor to show any negative emotions in public. By violently intervening into his portraits, Koizumi brings this repressed dimension to the surface, and attempts to add a human aspect to the sacred imagery of the king.

By the gesture of erasing, Koizumi discovers and creates a new dimension, beyond the existing frame and underneath the surface. Pursuing his investigation into Japan’s ritualistic culture and its past events, the fog (or gas) becomes an element for revealing, rather than concealing. Koizumi uncovers the painful reality hidden behind the serene facades, searching for new ways of resolving the past in a way that speaks to our current reality.


By reflecting on the mechanic nature of both our individual and collective unconsciousness, Koizumi unveils how together they shape our social realities under the reign of a (non-)human authority. 


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