Detail from Wild Corporation: Pay Day
Archival pigment print, 2018
IKL: Mimi, the first time I saw one of your large scale digital prints, it was maybe twenty feet long and dotted
with literally hundreds of figures.
I looked closer, I finally understood that it was you who appeared many times over and over again in the guise of different characters. When did you first develop this approach? How does it feel to perform so many different personas in one work? Do you ever consider these to be self-portraits or a performance of the self?
Mimi Kato on the self-portrait and performance.
I first started shooting myself in the first semester of grad school. As a fan of contemporary dance called Butoh, I was interested in the movements and languages that the body can create. Since then, the performance aspect took off and I started to think of my work as a theater production in a way. I don’t think of them as self-portraits. I am just playing the roles of the different characters.
Here we can see that a serious hunt of some kind has taken place.
The scissors could be a murder weapon. What we can't see is that a buck lies dead at the woman's feet. Tell me about how gender roles are operating here.
Mimi Kato on gender roles.
This work is about commenting on the patriarchal social structure that we have to deal with by being a part of society. Living as a female, I have dealt with unfair circumstances, so this work is also very personal. In this work, I wanted to play with gender roles that can be easily identified and categorized beyond cultural references. The tasks like hunting and warfare, which have been traditionally associated with men, are used to give strength, power and superiority to the characters, and domestic housework like doing laundry are used to portray figures as inferior.