Detail from Wild Corporation: One Step Ahead
Archival pigment print, 2018
IKL: Do you ever use assistants, Mimi?
I'm looking at the pink duck tape wrapped around the women in this close-up shot and wondering how you set up scenes like this in your studio. I'm also wondering if you can comment on percieved differences between male artists vs. female artists depicting women in compromising, volatile situations. In this scene, the women are clearly under attack, forcibly abducted by other women and led up the snowy hill.
Mimi Kato on differences between artists of different genders.
I do use assistants for scenes that figures are touching each other. However, for this scene, I didn’t have assistants. This scene was created with a metal stand that I tied the end of braids with strings to pull them. I did that to each figure and I stitched them up later in Photoshop. The key is a lot of planning and trying out poses with many rolls of film.
For the second part of the question, about differences between male and female artists, I am also wondering about it especially for images like I make. When I think about it, I keep coming back to the controversy surrounding Dana Schutz’s “Open Casket” painting in which she painted the casket of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black teenager who was murdered because he allegedly whistled at a white woman. The criticism of her painting was that an image like this does not belong to white artists and her use of it amounted to appropriation even though the artist rejected such an account. If I was a male artist creating the images I made, would the perception of the work change? I think we cannot create anything beyond our own experiences so whatever I created would be different if I was male. I don’t think we should discredit images created by people who seem to belong outside of the issues the works are commenting on. All voices and experiences are valuable and the most important thing is to foster conversations.